Aspirin May Aid in Preventing Liver Cancer in Hep B Patients

Five years of aspirin therapy linked to significantly lower incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma
Five years of aspirin therapy linked to significantly lower incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma

HealthDay News — Aspirin therapy is associated with a reduced risk of hepatitis B virus-related hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), according to a study scheduled for presentation at The Liver Meeting, held by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases from October 20 to 24 in Washington, DC.

Teng-Yu Lee, MD, PhD, from Taichung Veterans General Hospital in Taiwan, and colleagues used data from Taiwan's National Health Insurance Research Database from 1998 to 2012. Patients with non-hepatitis B infections were excluded, as were those with HCC before the follow-up index dates. A total of 1,553 patients who continuously received daily aspirin ≥90 days were randomly matched (1-to-4 ratio) with 6,212 patients who never received anti-platelet therapy based on baseline characteristics, the index date, and nucelos(t)ide analogue (NA) use during follow-up. 

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The researchers found that the cumulative incidence of HCC in the treated group was significantly lower than that in the untreated group in five years (2.86% versus 5.59%). Aspirin therapy was independently associated with a reduced HCC risk (hazard ratio [HR], 0.63) in a multivariable regression analysis. An increased HCC risk was independently associated with older age (HR, 1.03 per year), male gender (HR, 2.65), cirrhosis (HR, 1.89), and diabetes mellitus (HR, 1.51). NA (HR, 0.57) and statin (HR, 0.57) use were associated with a decreased HCC risk.

"For effectively preventing HBV‐related liver cancer, the findings of this study may help hepatologists treat patients with chronic HBV infection in the future, particularly for those who are not indicated for antiviral therapy. We are pursuing prospective investigations for further confirming the findings," Lee said in a statement.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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