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Invited Commentary
June 2016

Aspirin for Cancer Prevention: One Step Closer

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences, Department of Clinical Cancer Prevention, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston
  • 2Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston
JAMA Oncol. 2016;2(6):770-771. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2015.6395

In this issue of JAMA Oncology, Cao et al1 present an analysis of aspirin use for cancer prevention in light of the recent US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) draft recommendation2 regarding the use of aspirin for prevention of colorectal cancer (CRC) in individuals at risk for cardiovascular disease. The USPSTF does not recommend aspirin use for the sole purpose of CRC prevention, but rather acknowledges an additional benefit of aspirin use among a group of individuals who are already likely to benefit from aspirin for the prevention of cardiovascular events. Advancing the use of aspirin as a true cancer chemopreventive agent would typically require additional data from dedicated randomized clinical trials regarding the ability of aspirin to protect against cancers with the definition of an effective dose, the frequency and duration of treatment, and the clinical population at risk. In addition, as we have seen with the US Food and Drug Administration’s prior consideration of other agents for possible CRC and polyp prevention effects, the impact of such agents in the context of established and effective screening modalities, such as colonoscopy with polypectomy, is also important.

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