Aspirin and colorectal cancer: the promise of precision chemoprevention

Nat Rev Cancer. 2016 Mar;16(3):173-86. doi: 10.1038/nrc.2016.4. Epub 2016 Feb 12.


Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) has become one of the most commonly used drugs, given its role as an analgesic, antipyretic and agent for cardiovascular prophylaxis. Several decades of research have provided considerable evidence demonstrating its potential for the prevention of cancer, particularly colorectal cancer. Broader clinical recommendations for aspirin-based chemoprevention strategies have recently been established; however, given the known hazards of long-term aspirin use, larger-scale adoption of an aspirin chemoprevention strategy is likely to require improved identification of individuals for whom the protective benefits outweigh the harms. Such a precision medicine approach may emerge through further clarification of aspirin's mechanism of action.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aspirin / pharmacology*
  • Chemoprevention
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / etiology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Precision Medicine


  • Aspirin