Long-term aspirin use and the risk of total, high-grade, regionally advanced and lethal prostate cancer in a prospective cohort of health professionals, 1988-2006

Int J Cancer. 2011 May 15;128(10):2444-52. doi: 10.1002/ijc.25811. Epub 2011 Feb 26.


Experimental studies suggest a role for aspirin in the chemoprevention of prostate cancer and epidemiological evidence supports a modest inverse association between regular aspirin use and prostate cancer risk, especially for advanced disease. In a prospective cohort study of 51,529 health professionals aged 40-75 years at baseline, we evaluated long-term aspirin use and the incidence of total, high-grade (Gleason 8-10, n = 488), regionally advanced (T3b-T4 or N1, n = 228) and lethal prostate cancer (M1, bony metastases or prostate cancer death, n = 580) from 1988-2006. We used Cox proportional hazards regression to evaluate risk associated with frequency (days/week), quantity (tablets/week), recency and duration of aspirin use after multivariable adjustment for confounders and other predictors of prostate cancer risk. A total of 4,858 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer during the 18-year study period. Men taking ≥ 2 adult-strength aspirin tablets a week had a 10% lower risk of prostate cancer (p-for-trend = 0.02). For regionally advanced cancer, we observed no significant associations with aspirin use. For high-grade and lethal disease, men taking ≥ 6 adult-strength tablets/week experienced similar reductions in risk hazard ratio [HR = 0.72 (95% confidence intervals [CI]: 0.54, 0.96) and HR = 0.71 (95% CI: 0.50, 1.00)]. Analytical approaches to address bias from more frequent prostate-specific antigen screening among aspirin users did not yield different conclusions. We observed reductions in the risk of high-grade and lethal prostate cancer associated with higher doses of aspirin, but not with greater frequency or duration, in a large, prospective cohort of health professionals. Our data support earlier observations of modest inverse associations with advanced prostate cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Aspirin / administration & dosage*
  • Health Personnel*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • United States


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Aspirin