Efficacy and safety of chemopreventive agents on colorectal cancer incidence and mortality: Systematic review and network meta-analysis
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Background: Various interventions have been tested as primary prevention of colorectal cancers (CRC), but comprehensive evidence comparing them is absent. We examined the effects of various chemopreventive agents (CPAs) on CRC incidence and mortality. Methods: We did a network meta-analysis based on a systematic review of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that compared at least one CPA (aspirin, antioxidants, folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, calcium, vitamin D, alone or in combination) to placebo or other CPA in persons without history of CRC. Several databases were searched from inception up to March 2017. Primary outcomes were early and long-term CRC incidence and mortality. Results: Twenty-one RCTs comprising 281,063 participants, 9 RCTS comprising 160,101 participants, and 7 RCTs comprising 24,001 participants were included in the network meta-analysis for early risk of CRC incidence, long-term risk of CRC incidence and mortality, respectively. For early CRC incidence, no CPAs were found to be effective. For long-term CRC incidence and mortality, aspirin was the only intervention that showed protective effects with potential dose-dependent effects (risk ratio [RR], 0.74 [95% CI, 0.57–0.97] for high-dose [=325 mg/day] and RR, 0.81 [95% CI, 0.67–0.98] for very-low-dose [=100 mg/day]). Similar trend was found for mortality (RR, 0.43 [95% CI, 0.23–0.81] for low-dose [>100–325 mg/day] and RR, 0.65 [95% CI, 0.45–0.94] for very-low-dose). However, in net clinical benefit analysis, when combining risk estimates on mortality from CRC, cardiovascular disease, and pooled risk estimates of major gastrointestinal bleeding, low-dose aspirin provided the highest net survival gain (%) of 1.736 [95% CI, 1.010–2.434]. Conclusion: Aspirin at the dose range of 75–325 mg/day is a safe and effective primary prevention for long-term CRC among people at average risk. None of the other CPAs were found to be effective. There may potentially be differential effects among various doses of aspirin that needs further investigation.
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