Dose-risk and duration-risk relationships between aspirin and colorectal cancer: a meta-analysis of published cohort studies

PLoS One. 2013;8(2):e57578. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0057578. Epub 2013 Feb 25.


Background: In previous meta-analyses, aspirin use has been associated with reduced risk of colorectal cancer. However, uncertainty remains on the exact dose-risk and duration-risk relationships.

Methods: We identified studies by searching several English and Chinese electronic databases and reviewing relevant articles. The dose-response meta-analysis was performed by linear trend regression and restricted cubic spline regression. Subgroup analyses were conducted to explore possible heterogeneity among studies. Potential heterogeneity was calculated as Q statistic and I(2) value. Publication bias was evaluated using funnel plots and quantified by the Begg's and Egger's test.

Results: Twelve studies were included in this meta-analysis. An inverse association between aspirin use and colorectal cancer was observed in both the overall group (RR = 0.74, 95% CI 0.64-0.83 for aspirin dose; RR = 0.80, 95% CI 0.75-0.85 for frequency of aspirin use; RR = 0.75, 95% CI 0.68-0.81 for years of aspirin use) and subgroups stratified by sex and cancer site. The dose-response meta-analysis showed that there was a 20% statistically significant decreased risk of colorectal cancer for 325 mg aspirin per day increment, 18% decreased risk for 7 times aspirin per week increment and 18% decreased risk for 10 years aspirin increment.

Conclusion: Long-term (>5 years), low-dose (75-325 mg per day) and regular aspirin use (2-7 times per week) can effectively reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aspirin / administration & dosage*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Research Design
  • Risk


  • Aspirin

Grant support

This work was supported by fund from International cooperation project of the Guangzhou Science and Technology Bureau (No. 2011J5200017). The funders had no role in study design,data collection and analysis, and interpretation of the data.