Does Aspirin Affect The Liver – Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital found that taking aspirin regularly can reduce the risk of developing liver cancer.
Data from this report show that taking aspirin regularly may reduce the risk of developing liver cancer or hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
- 1 Does Aspirin Affect The Liver
- 2 It Takes Two: Liver Diseases Of Pregnancy
- 3 Hepatitis And Acute Liver Failure
- 4 Here Are The Health Benefits And Side Effects Of Aspirin
Does Aspirin Affect The Liver
The scientists defined a “regular basis” as taking two or more 325-milligram tablets per week for 5 or more years.
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The results of the study are promising. “Regular aspirin use resulted in a significantly lower risk of developing HCC, compared with infrequent or no aspirin use, and we also found that the risk decreased progressively with increasing aspirin dose and duration of use,” said lead author Dr. Tracy Simon , who is a researcher from the Department of Gastroenterology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
The researchers reviewed the data, including the health data of more than 170,000 people, collected over 3 decades.
One part of the questionnaire that these patients filled out was whether they were taking aspirin, how often they were taking it, and for how long. Another part of the data included the diagnosis of liver cancer.
When the scientists crunched the numbers, they found that people who took two (or more) doses of 325 milligrams of aspirin each week had a 49 percent reduction in their risk of developing liver cancer.
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Also, the team saw that the reduction in risk decreased if the participant stopped taking aspirin and disappeared completely 8 years after stopping aspirin. There was no reduction in liver cancer risk when participants took acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
Liver cancer is not a particularly common type of cancer, but it has been increasing over the past few decades. A person’s risk of developing liver cancer is increased if they already have liver disease, such as hepatitis B or hepatitis C.
— when scar tissue replaces normal liver cells and prevents the liver from working as it should — their risk of liver cancer is also increased.
If a person experiences unintended weight loss, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, and unusual fatigue or weakness, they should contact their doctor.
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“Although it is still too early to know whether initiation of aspirin therapy may be an effective strategy for the prevention of HCC, efforts to understand the mechanisms behind these beneficial effects could help identify,” argues Dr. Simon, “urgently needed prevention strategies or biomarkers for cancer, which is a growing public health problem.”
The scientists’ next steps include conducting a study of how aspirin therapy works in a population with established liver disease, Dr. Simon says, since that group is already at risk for liver cancer.
Doctors already recommend aspirin to some patients to prevent heart disease and colon cancer, so it’s not hard to see how it could eventually become a protocol for those at risk of liver cancer HealthDay operates to the strictest editorial standards. Our syndicated news content is completely independent of any financial interests, based solely on respected industry sources and the latest scientific research, carefully vetted by a team of industry experts to ensure accuracy.
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WEDNESDAY, March 11, 2020 (HealthDay News) — People with hepatitis B or C are at higher risk of liver cancer, but a small daily dose of aspirin can significantly reduce that risk, a new study suggests.
During a median follow-up of nearly eight years, 4% of those taking low-dose aspirin developed liver cancer, compared with 8.3% of those not taking the drug, the researchers found.
“It’s not clear how aspirin prevents liver cancer,” said study leader Dr. Tracy Simon, an instructor at Harvard Medical School in Boston.
Simon cautioned that this study cannot prove that aspirin prevents liver cancer. Only an association was observed in the study.
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In other studies, aspirin has been linked to a reduction in liver fat, inflammation and scar tissue, Simon added. These are all signs of potential liver disease, including cancer. “Aspirin stops or delays the progression of liver disease,” she said.
Still, Simon said that while the findings are promising, they’re not conclusive and that no one should start taking aspirin in hopes of preventing liver cancer.
“What we really need is a randomized clinical trial to tell patients that it will benefit them without causing harm,” she said.
For the study, Simon and her colleagues used Swedish registries to identify more than 50,000 people with hepatitis B and C who were not taking low-dose aspirin, and more than 14,000 who were. Those who took aspirin did so to prevent heart attacks and strokes.
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Aspirin users have been found to have a lower risk of liver cancer. The researchers also found that the longer someone took aspirin, the greater the reduction in liver cancer risk.
Also, the risk of dying from liver disease over 10 years was 18% among those who did not take aspirin and 11% among those who did, the researchers found.
And while aspirin can cause internal bleeding, Simon’s team found that the risk of bleeding was similar among users and nonusers (8% and 7%).
Eric Jacobs is the senior scientific director for epidemiologic research at the American Cancer Society. “The lower rate of liver cancer observed in low-dose aspirin users in this study is intriguing,” he said.
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But people prescribed low-dose aspirin may differ from those not prescribed in the way they are less likely to develop liver cancer, said Jacobs, who was not part of the study.
For example, people with severe cirrhosis of the liver, which is a risk factor for liver cancer, are less likely to be prescribed aspirin because of concerns about bleeding caused by aspirin, he explained.
“A randomized trial of aspirin in people with hepatitis would be needed to determine more definitively whether low-dose aspirin can help prevent liver cancer or fatal liver disease in this group,” Jacobs said.
“People who are wondering whether they should start taking aspirin should first talk to their doctor, who will be able to take into account their personal medical history,” Jacobs said.
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Although liver cancer rates are on the rise in the United States, people can reduce their risk, as well as their risk of other cancers and serious diseases, by not smoking and maintaining a healthy weight, he said.
“A one-time hepatitis C blood test is also recommended for all Americans born between 1945 and 1965 because early treatment can help reduce liver damage,” Jacobs added.
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