The world’s largest ever clinical trial to test if daily aspirin intake will prevent cancer was launched last October 22.
The Add-Aspirin phase III trial, the largest of its kind and funded by Cancer Research UK and the National Institute for Health Research, aims to find out if taking aspirin every day for five years can stop or delay cancers that have been caught and treated at an early stage from returning. It will also study how the drug might do this.
The study will recruit 11,000 patients who have recently had, or are having, treatment for bowel, breast, oesophagus (food pipe), prostate or stomach cancer. It will be open at more than 100 centres across the UK and will run for up to 12 years.
The study will compare two groups of people taking different doses of aspirin and a group taking placebo (dummy) tablets.
Aspirin is already proven to help prevent heart attacks and strokes in some people, and research has suggested that it could also prevent some types of cancer.
Professor Ruth Langley, chief investigator from the MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL, warned against taking aspirin on your own if you’re not on the trial.
“Unless you are on the trial, it’s important not to start taking aspirin until we have the full results as aspirin isn’t suitable for everyone, and it can have serious side effects. Please speak to your oncologist or research nurse if you would like to join the Add-Aspirin trial.” she said.
Dr. Fiona Reddington, Cancer Research UK’s head of population research, said: “Aspirin’s possible effects on cancer are fascinating and we hope this trial will give us a clear answer on whether or not the drug helps stop some cancers coming back.”