Advancing the Science

Mayo Clinic Medical Science Blog – an eclectic collection of research- and research education-related stories: feature stories, mini news bites, learning opportunities, profiles and more from Mayo Clinic.

November 17, 2016

Aspirin use may help prevent bile duct cancer

By Elizabeth Zimmermann

Bile duct cancer is an uncommon cancer that forms in the slender tubes (bile ducts) that carry digestive fluid through the liver. Bile duct cancer occurs mostly in people older than age 50. Symptoms include yellowing of the skin and eyes, intense itchiness of the skin, and white stools. Bile duct cancer is an aggressive type of cancer that progresses quickly and is difficult to treat.

Photograph of Lewis R. Roberts, M.B., Ch.B., Ph.D.

Lewis R. Roberts, M.B., Ch.B., Ph.D.

Mayo Clinic Cancer Center researchers found that individuals who regularly used aspirin were significantly less likely to develop bile duct cancer.

"The evidence has been accumulating that regular, long-term use of aspirin is associated with a decreased risk of a number of different cancer types, particularly gastrointestinal cancers," said lead researcher Lewis Roberts, M.B., Ch.B., Ph.D.

However, he and his colleagues caution that until further studies are conducted, it cannot be certain that aspirin is safe to use for cancer prevention.

Read more about this research in Forefront, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center's research magazine.

This research project was conducted within the Gastrointestinal Cancer Program of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center. Areas of research interest include the pathogenesis, diagnosis, prevention, prognosis and treatment of gastrointestinal malignancies to reduce their incidence and to increase survival and improve quality of life for patients.

The Gastrointestinal Cancer Program focuses on two research themes:

  • Mechanisms of carcinogenesis and tumor biology
  • Early detection and prevention

The program also has a Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant for pancreatic cancer.

Tags: cancer, Findings, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center

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