Long-term use of aspirin by hepatitis B patients can reduce liver cancer and liver disease-related deaths by 16 and 21 percent, Severance Hospital said Thursday, citing a recent study by its researchers.
Hepatitis B causes an immune reaction due to hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, leading to liver inflammation. Various antiviral drugs have already been developed but failed to treat it all together, resulting in liver cancer. Aspirin has demonstrated a reduced risk of liver cancer in chronic hepatitis patients. However, it was unclear which characteristic of the patient group caused that effect nor the relationship between the dose or duration and the risk-reducing effects.
The research analyzed hepatitis B patients 40 years or older into a group of patients (9,837) administered with aspirin for more than three years and the unadministered group (151,836) and compared their average incidence of liver cancer and liver disease-related survival rate.
The average annual incidence of liver cancer was 517 and 568 people per 100,000 in the administered and unadministered groups.
The multivariate analysis considering a wide variety of factors -- age, gender, blood pressure, diabetes, cirrhosis, hepatitis B treatment, metformin, and statin use -- demonstrated that the aspirin-administered group had a comparatively lower risk of liver cancer and liver disease-related death of 16 and 21 percent, according to the hospital.
The effect of aspirin on metabolic diseases and medications in individuals showed that long-term aspirin use in patients with cirrhosis and high blood pressure significantly lowered the risk of developing liver cancer by 19 and 14 percent, respectively. However, it was ineffective in the group taking the antiviral drugs of metformin and statins, well-known for their cancer prevention effects.
"Previous studies suggested the preventive effects of aspirin in liver cancer. However, this study indicates not just the effects of taking aspirin but also factors like metabolic diseases of individuals and the use of medications should be considered," Professor Kim Bum-kyung of the Department of Gastroenterology said, "We will conduct additional studies to reveal the relationship between aspirin's reduction in liver cancer risk to provide personalized patient treatment.”
The study is available in the latest American Journal of Gastroenterology issue.