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Aspirin Could Help Prevent Liver Cancer: Study

Update Date: Dec 03, 2012 06:20 AM EST

A new study reveals that commonly used drugs such as aspirin and other pain killers could keep liver cancer and other forms of hepatic diseases at bay.

For the study, researchers observed and followed up people who consumed the tablets and found that those who took aspirin were 41 percent less likely to develop hepatocellular carcinoma and 45 percent less likely to die from chronic liver disease, according to a report in

According to the researchers, people who used non-aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs such as ibuprofen reduced their chances of succumbing to liver diseases by 26 percent.

For the study, researchers analyzed and followed up with 300,000 plus men and women aged between 50 and 71 years for a span of 10 to 12 years. Apart from reduced risk of death from liver diseases, the study found no link between NSAIDs and the reduced risk of developing HCC.

"These associations are prominent with the use of aspirin, and if confirmed, might open new vistas for chemoprevention of heptaocellular carcinoma and chronic liver disease," the authors of the joint National Institutes of Health said.

"Aspirin, in particular, when used exclusively or with other non-aspirin NSAIDs showed a consistent protective effect related to both HCC incidence and CLD mortality, regardless of the frequency of exclusivity of use," they added.

Among the people studied for the research, about 73 percent reported aspirin use and 56 percent used other NSAIDs, the report said.

The study revealed that the frequency of aspirin use did not influence the effect the medicine, while the researchers considered factors like age, sex, race or ethnicity, body mass index, cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption and diabetes in the participants while concluding the results. 

The apparent advantage of NSAID use in the cohort may have been on account of the anti-inflammatory or other mechanisms, the researchers said, according to the website.

The researchers also warned that since the exact dosage of the medicines in order to get the desired result of reducing risks has not been established through the study, the findings should be interpreted with some caution.

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