It is often recommended to take an aspirin if you have heart problems as a means of reducing your risk of a heart attack. New research suggests that the same aspirin a day you take for your heart may go a long way in benefitting your liver too.
The latest findings suggest that a daily aspirin was linked with a significant reduction in risk of hepatitis B in liver cancer. Hepatitis B is a viral infection that attacks the liver. It can be contracted through an infected person’s blood or bodily fluids. It is estimated that 240 million people worldwide have chronic hepatitis B. If hepatitis B progresses, it can lead to death as a result of cirrhosis of the liver.
Researcher Teng‐Yu Lee explained, “Liver cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death worldwide, and HBV is the most prevalent risk factor in our region. HBV‐related liver cancer is therefore a major public health issue with a severe socioeconomic impact.”
There are antiviral medications available that reduce the risk of liver cancer, but the researchers suggest that these treatments do not eliminate the risk. Dr. Lee continued, “Aspirin has been investigated to explore its chemopreventive effect in cancers that are related to chronic inflammation, particularly in the prevention of colorectal cancer. However, clinical evidence supporting the chemopreventive effect of aspirin therapy on liver cancer remains limited. Therefore, we conducted a large‐scale cohort study to evaluate the association of aspirin therapy with HBV‐related liver cancer.”
The researchers examined medical records of a large cohort containing 204,507 patients with hepatitis B. They excluded patients with other viral infections and were left with 1,553 patients who took a daily aspirin. These patients were randomly matched with 6,212 patients who did not receive anti-platelet therapies.
The researchers found that cumulative incidences of liver cancer among patients who took a daily aspirin were significantly lower compared to those who were not treated with aspirin. Further analysis uncovered that a daily aspirin was independently associated with a reduced risk of liver cancer.
Dr. Lee concluded, “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.”