2016-04-13 18:29:38 UTC

Task Force Updates Guidelines on Aspirin for CRC Prevention

April 13, 2016

Beginning at age 50, patients can use aspirin to help prevent CRC.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPST) recently issued updated guidelines for the use of aspirin as a preventive measure for both cardiovascular disease (CVD) and colorectal cancer (CRC). The task force recommended beginning the use of low-dose aspirin as a primary preventive measure for adults aged 50 to 59 with a life expectancy of at least 10 years.  

The recent guidelines give aspirin use a “B” grade as a means of preventing CVD and CRC. This follows 2007 recommendations, in which USPSTF gave the use of aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs a “D” for CRC prevention. Research now shows that adequate evidence exists to determine that aspirin reduces the incidence of CRC when taken for at least five to 10 years, although the full benefit is not apparent until 10 years after aspirin therapy is started.

Due to the time period between beginning the treatment and the realization of full benefit, the task force determined that there is insufficient evidence to recommend aspirin for CRC prevention in individuals aged 70 years or older. It further stated that for individuals aged 60 to 69, the decision should be made on an individual basis after taking into account risk assessments and a balance of benefits and harms — such as GI bleeding — to the patient.  

The recommendations also noted the need for additional research to determine the differential impact of aspirin use for CRC prevention in subgroups to account for race/ethnicity, age and genetic factors.  

USPSTF is charged with developing recommendations for preventive services that are used when determining coverage and reimbursement.

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