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Aspirin use associated with decreased risk of bile duct cancer

April 29 2016. A recent study conducted by researchers at the Mayo Clinic suggests that bile duct cancer can be added to the growing list of malignancies that could be prevented by regular aspirin use.

The journal Hepatology reports findings from a study that compared 2,395 bile duct cancer patients with 4,769 control subjects matched for age and other factors. Jonggi Choi, MD, and colleagues calculated a 2.7-fold to 3.6-fold lower risk of bile duct cancer among aspirin users in comparison with nonusers. Compared with no aspirin use, aspirin users had a 65% lower risk of intrahepatic bile duct cancer, a 66% lower risk of perihilar bile duct cancer and a 71% lower risk of distal disease. It was also shown that the presence of cirrhosis and other factors impacted the risk of the three subtypes in different ways.

"Chronic persistent inflammation is one of the key elements that promote cancer of the bile ducts, and well-known risk factors for bile duct cancer have all been shown to increase the risk for bile duct cancer by inducing chronic inflammation of the ducts," Dr Choi observed. "Aspirin is an anti-inflammatory agent and may reduce the risk of bile duct cancer by reducing inflammation through inhibition of the cyclooxygenase enzyme. Previous studies have shown that aspirin also blocks additional biological pathways that promote cancer development."

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