Regular Aspirin Use May Cut Liver Cancer Risk

Long-term, regular aspirin use may help lower the risk of developing liver cancer, suggest new findings presented at the Liver Meeting.


In a study of 133,371 participants in the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS)(n = 87,507) and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS)(n = 48,864), researchers found that those who used aspirin regularly had a significantly decreased risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) compared with those who used aspirin non-regularly (multivariable hazard ratio [HR] 0.51).

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The association appeared to be both dose- and duration-dependent, the authors of the study noted. Joint analyses of dose and duration of aspirin use indicated that taking at least 1.5 standard aspirin tablets per week for at least 5 years was associated with a significant risk reduction in HCC compared with non-use (multivariable HR 0.41).


“Further research is needed to clarify whether aspirin use represents a feasible strategy for HCC primary prevention,” the authors said of their findings.


All participants included in the present study had available biennial data on their patterns of aspirin use from 1980 (NHS) and 1986 (HPFS) respectively, until 2012. Regular aspirin use was defined as taking at least 2 standard 325-mg tablets per week.


Among all participants, 108 incident cases of HCC over 4,232,188 were recorded. Multivariable adjusted HRs for HCC were:

  • 0.87 among users of 1.5 or fewer standard aspirin tablets per week.
  • 0.51 for 1.5 to 5 aspirin tablets per week.
  • 0.49 for more than 5 tablets per week.


Increasing duration of time since aspirin discontinuation among former users appeared to be tied to a continually increased risk of HCC over time.


When analyzing the effects of non-aspirin non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) use on liver cancer risk, no association was observed between NSAID use and HCC risk compared with non-NSAID use (multivariable HR 1.09).


—Christina Vogt



Simon TF, Ma Y, Ludvigsson JF, et al. The association between aspirin use and risk of hepatocellular carcinoma: results from two prospective U.S. cohort studies. Hepatology. 2018;68(S1).