Chronic once-daily aspirin use may double the risk for melanoma among men, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. No such increase in risk was observed among women.

Previous findings have demonstrated that aspirin use reduces the risk of various cancers and may improve overall survival among patients with melanoma, but whether chronic aspirin use moderates melanoma risk requires further study.

For this study, researchers accessed the Northwestern Medicine Enterprise Data Warehouse to evaluate the health outcomes of nearly 200,000 patients from metropolitan Chicago and the surrounding areas. Eligible patients were between the ages of 18 and 89, had no previous history of melanoma, and had follow-up data of at least 5 years after continuous once-daily aspirin use for 1 year or more.

Of the study participants chronically exposed to aspirin, 26 (2.2%) of 1187 developed melanoma. Contrarily, of the nearly 194,000 patients in the study who did not take aspirin, only 1675 (0.86%) developed melanoma.

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Unadjusted results showed that the relative risk for melanoma increased significantly for all patients who chronically used aspirin compared with nonusers. A multivariate analysis however, revealed that the only factor significantly associated with increased risk was male gender, regardless of dose.

The authors concluded that “although the mechanism for these findings is unclear, given the potential clinical impact, further exploration of the risk related to chronic, once daily aspirin exposure and subsequent diagnosis of melanoma is warranted.” 

Reference

Orrell KA, Cices AD, Guido N, et al. Malignant melanoma associated with chronic once daily aspirin exposure in males: a large, single-center, urban, U.S. patient population cohort study from the Research on Adverse Drug events And Reports (RADAR) project [published online March 27, 2018]. J Am Acad Dermatol. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2018.03.031