Regular aspirin use and lung cancer risk

BMC Cancer. 2002 Nov 26;2:31. doi: 10.1186/1471-2407-2-31. Epub 2002 Nov 26.


Background: Although a large number of epidemiological studies have examined the role of aspirin in the chemoprevention of colon cancer and other solid tumors, there is a limited body of research focusing on the association between aspirin and lung cancer risk.

Methods: We conducted a hospital-based case-control study to evaluate the role of regular aspirin use in lung cancer etiology. Study participants included 868 cases with primary, incident lung cancer and 935 hospital controls with non-neoplastic conditions who completed a comprehensive epidemiological questionnaire. Participants were classified as regular aspirin users if they had taken the drug at least once a week for at least one year.

Results: Results indicated that lung cancer risk was significantly lower for aspirin users compared to non-users (adjusted OR = 0.57; 95% CI 0.41-0.78). Although there was no clear evidence of a dose-response relationship, we observed risk reductions associated with greater frequency of use. Similarly, prolonged duration of use and increasing tablet years (tablets per day x years of use) was associated with reduced lung cancer risk. Risk reductions were observed in both sexes, but significant dose response relationships were only seen among male participants. When the analyses were restricted to former and current smokers, participants with the lowest cigarette exposure tended to benefit most from the potential chemopreventive effect of aspirin. After stratification by histology, regular aspirin use was significantly associated with reduced risk of small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer.

Conclusions: Overall, results from this hospital-based case-control study suggest that regular aspirin use may be associated with reduced risk of lung cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / administration & dosage*
  • Aspirin / administration & dosage*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / prevention & control
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / prevention & control
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Fibrinolytic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk Assessment


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Fibrinolytic Agents
  • Aspirin