Aspirin chemoprevention in colorectal cancer: network meta-analysis of low, moderate, and high doses
Background: Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer, with nearly 2 million cases worldwide and just under 1 million deaths in 2020. Several trials have demonstrated that aspirin has the potential to reduce the incidence and/or recurrence of colorectal cancer; however, the optimal aspirin dose is unclear.
Methods: Relevant studies were identified by searching MEDLINE, Embase and the Cochrane Library from database inception to 2 February 2022. Data from RCTs in which the incidence of colorectal cancer in patients without active colorectal cancer assigned to aspirin versus control were included. Two investigators independently identified studies and abstracted data. Study quality was assessed using Cochrane Collaboration risk-of-bias 2 tool. The study was performed according to PRISMA guidelines. Aspirin dose was stratified into low (50-163 mg/day), mid (164-325 mg/day), and high (500-1200 mg/day).
Results: Thirteen articles representing 11 RCTs (92 550 participants) were included, with studies assessing aspirin as primary prophylaxis in general or high-risk populations, and as secondary prophylaxis for metachronous colorectal cancer. There was a statistically significant reduction in colorectal cancer incidence in the high-dose aspirin group compared with the group that received no aspirin or placebo (OR 0.69, 95 per cent credible interval 0.50 to 0.96; surface under the cumulative ranking 0.82). There was no statistically significant difference between mid- and low-dose aspirin versus no aspirin/placebo.
Conclusion: In this network meta-analysis of RCTs, high-dose aspirin was associated with a reduction in colorectal cancer incidence. However, this was based on a limited number of trials. This study did not show a statistically significant risk reduction in colorectal cancer incidence with mid- or low-dose aspirin.