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Aspirin and lung cancer


Clinical bottom line

This study and others show an association between the use of aspirin and lower incidence of, and mortality from, lung cancer.


KB Moysich et al. Regular aspirin use and lung cancer risk. BMC Cancer 2002 2:31 (


The study population was individuals at a cancer institute between 1982 and 1998 who agreed to complete a comprehensive epidemiological questionnaire. There were 868 with primary incident lung cancers. Controls were 935 individuals randomly selected from a pool of over 7,000 individuals receiving treatment for non-cancer conditions.

The questionnaire covered use of tobacco, alcohol, family history, occupational and environmental expose, medical history, and diet. Also included were questions assessing aspirin use, about how much was taken, how often, and for how long.


The average age of cases and controls was 62 years, and about 40% were women. Compared to non-users, regular aspirin users (self-reported use at least once a week for at least one year) had a lower rate of lung cancer. For women the odds ratio adjusted for age and pack years of cigarettes was 0.52 (0.29 to 0.95) and for men it was 0.62 (0.43 to 0.90). Overall the adjusted odds ratio was 0.57 (0.41 to 0.78).

There was no strong association with regularity of use, amount of aspirin used, or duration of aspirin use. The effect was statistically significant in those smoking least (less than 34 pack years), and was not significant in higher levels of cigarette use.


A summary of other published studies is also given in this paper. Of nine studies, including the current one, eight showed significant reductions in lung cancer incidence with aspirin use for at least one outcome.