Aspirin therapy is significantly associated with a reduced risk for hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), according to results of a large-scale, long-term cohort study published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Liver cancer is the second leading cancer in terms of years of life lost between 2006 and 2016; thus, discovering an effective way to prevent HCC is a critical public health issue. Aspirin therapy has linked to a reduced risk for colon cancer as a result of its anti-inflammatory properties; HCV-related HCC has been shown to be a consequence of chronic inflammation, thus creating a potential novel chemeopreventive application of aspirin therapy.

Therefore, researchers investigated the association of daily aspirin therapy with HCV-related HCC risk using data collected Taiwan’s National Health Insurance Research Database; they identified 2478 patients who continuously received daily aspirin therapy for > 90 days (treated group) and randomly matching them 1:2 with 4956 patients who had never received antiplatelet therapy (untreated group).

The median duration of aspirin therapy was 4.0 years. Regarding the daily dosage of aspirin during therapy, 2,461 (99.3%) of the patients received < 100 mg. Results found that the cumulative incidence of HCC among the treated group was significantly lower than among the untreated group over 5 years (4.67% vs 7.32%, respectively; P< .001) and over 10 years (11.23% vs 14.89%, respectively; P< .001) . Aspirin therapy was found to be independently associated with a reduced HCC risk after adjustment for age per year, male sex, cirrhosis, liver decompensation, hyperlipidemia, statin use, and interferon therapy. Results also showed that older age, male sex, and cirrhosis were independently associated with an increased risk for HCC.


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“In summary, the results of this large-scale, long-term cohort study suggest that daily low-dose aspirin therapy is significantly associated with a reduced risk of HCC development in patients with chronic HCV infection,” stated the study authors.

Reference

Lee T-Y, Hsu Y-C, Tseng H-C, Lin J-T, Wu M-S, Wu C-Y. Association of daily aspirin therapy with hepatocellular carcinoma risk in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus infection [published online April 28, 2020].ClinGastroenterolHepatol. doi:10.1016/j.cgh.2020.04.036