Does Aspirin Reduce the Incidence, Recurrence, and Mortality of Hepatocellular Carcinoma? A GRADE-Assessed Systematic Review and Dose-Response Meta-Analysis

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European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology


Purpose: Aspirin has been suggested to reduce the risk of cancer. However, previous studies have been inconsistent regarding the relationship between aspirin use and the risk of occurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of aspirin on clinical outcomes in patients with HCC in a meta-analysis and to explore the possible dose-response relationship.

Methods: A systematic literature search was conducted in 10 electronic databases and 4 registries. The combined hazard ratios (HRs) were calculated using a random-effects model with 95% confidence interval (CIs) to assess the effect of aspirin on the risk of HCC. Relevant subgroup analyses and sensitivity analyses were performed.

Results: The results show that aspirin use correlated with lower incidence of HCC (HR: 0.75, 95% CI: 0.71-0.80), decreased risk of HCC recurrence (HR: 0.79, 95% CI: 0.65-0.96), and reduced mortality (HR: 0.72, 95% CI: 0.60-0.87). The results of the subgroup analysis showed that aspirin use was consistently associated with reduced incidence of HCC across different regions, study designs, and populations. A linear relationship was found for both dosage and duration of aspirin use. An increased of bleeding with aspirin use among patients was also observed (HR 1.10, 95% CI: 1.02-1.20).

Conclusions: This meta-analysis found that aspirin use was independently associated with a reduced risk of HCC incidence, recurrence, and death. Furthermore, aspirin use influenced HCC occurrence in a dose-dependent and duration-dependent manner. However, an increased risk of bleeding with aspirin use was noted.



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Aspirin, Bleeding risk, Hepatocellular carcinoma, Meta-analysis