The National Institution of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has advised in new draft updated guidance that taking aspirin daily for two or more years could reduce the risk of colorectal cancer in people with Lunch syndrome (LS).
When published, the updated guideline will replace NICE’s existing guideline on the diagnosis and management of colorectal cancer.
An estimated 175,000 people in the UK have LS, a large proportion of whom will be unaware that they have the condition.
People with LS have an increased lifetime risk – estimated to be four out of five people – of developing colorectal cancer.
Regular screening with colonoscopy and polypectomy to identify pre-cancerous cells has until now been the main strategy to detect early colorectal cancer in people with LS and offer appropriate management.
“The independent committee looked at evidence from a multi-country randomised controlled trial, which showed taking daily aspirin for more than two years reduces the risk of colorectal cancer in people with Lynch syndrome,” said Dr Paul Chrisp, Director of the Centre for Guidelines at NICE.
“While there are risks associated with long-term aspirin use, the committee agreed that the benefits are likely to outweigh any potential harms.
“It is important that clinicians and patients discuss the potential harms and benefits of long-term aspirin use so that an informed decision can be made.”
NICE published diagnostics guidance in 2017 recommending that everyone who is diagnosed with colorectal cancer should be tested for LS.
If the test shows they do have LS, they can be monitored for other cancers and their close relatives can also be offered testing for LS.
Updated guidance recommends aspirin is an option to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer among this group.