Consumption of aspirin could minimise the likelihood of an individual developing oesophageal cancer, an investigation has revealed.
Research published in the American Gastroenterological Association's official journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology found taking aspirin appears to reduce the chance of a person suffering from Barrett's Oesophagus (BO).
This is known to be the largest known risk factor for the development of oesophageal cancer, but non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin have been linked to a reduced incidence of tumours in the oesophagus.
While a number of studies have examined the potential of NSAIDs in stopping BO from progressing to this cancer, far fewer have looked into the possibility of aspirin preventing BO from occurring.
Dr Chin Hur of the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute for Technology Assessment was the lead author of the new study.
He led a team of international healthcare researchers who investigated the characteristics of 434 people with BO for factors that could be related to the management and screening of others.
The research found that men are three times more likely to develop BO than women, while aspirin consumption reduced the chance of someone suffering from BO by 44 per cent.
Dr Hur said: "The protective effect of aspirin use appears robust because the analyses suggests a dose-response relationship in which high-dose aspirin was significantly associated with decreased Barrett's oesophagus risk."
However, he did not advise members of the public to begin taking high doses of aspirin for the sole purpose of preventing BO at this time.
"If additional data confirms our findings and an individual at high risk for development of Barrett's oesophagus and oesophageal cancer also could derive additional benefits – most notably cardiovascular – aspirin could be a consideration," the specialist declared.
BO occurs when the tissue that lines the oesophagus is replaced by a substance similar to that found in the lining of the intestine, which is known as intestinal medaplasia.
Caucasian males are more likely to suffer from this condition than women and people of other races.