"If there were evidence that aspirin protected against a multitude of cancers, than we might get to the point where we say it's time to start considering it," Martinez said. "But you have to keep in mind that it comes with side effects. At this point, we are not ready to say, 'Take aspirin,' as we do with cardiovascular disease," she added.
According to another report published in the same journal, stomach cancer patients who undergo an intensive chemotherapy regimen after surgery may not gain any benefit in survival.
In the study, Dr. Stefano Cascinu, from the Universita Politecnica delle Marche in Ancona, Italy, and colleagues randomly assigned 397 high-risk gastric cancer patients to either eight weekly treatments of five chemotherapy drugs or six monthly treatments of only two of the drugs.
Cascinu's team found no significant difference in survival between the two groups. Both groups had about a 50 percent five-year survival rate, which is higher than earlier studies have found.
"The unexpectedly long survival time in our trial may be due to several factors, among them, the high quality of surgery observed in our trial," the authors wrote. "Furthermore, toxicity associated with postoperative chemotherapy as reported in our trial and in other studies suggest that it may be preferable to move toward preoperative approaches," they concluded.
For more information on aspirin and cancer prevention, visit the U.S. National Cancer Institute.
SOURCES: Eric Jacobs, Ph.D., epidemiologist, American Cancer Society, Atlanta; Maria Elena Martinez, Ph.D., Arizona Cancer Center, Tucson; April 18, 2007, Journal of the National Cancer Institute