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BACKGROUND: Previous meta-analyses have indicated that aspirin could affect breast cancer outcomes, particularly when taken post-diagnostically. However, several recent studies appear to show little to no association between aspirin use and breast cancer mortality, all-cause mortality, or recurrence. AIMS: This study aims to conduct an updated systematic review and meta-analysis on the associations of pre-diagnostic and post-diagnostic aspirin use with the aforementioned breast cancer outcomes. It also looks, through subgroup analyses and meta-regressions, at a range of variables that could explain the associations between aspirin use and breast cancer outcomes. RESULTS: In total, 24 papers and 149 860 patients with breast cancer were included. Pre-diagnostic aspirin use was not associated with breast-cancer-specific mortality (HR 0.98, 95% CI, 0.80-1.20, P = .84) or recurrence (HR 0.94, 95% CI, 0.88-1.02, P = .13). Pre-diagnostic aspirin was associated with non-significantly higher all-cause mortality (HR 1.27, 95% CI, 0.95-1.72, P = .11). Post-diagnostic aspirin was not significantly associated with all-cause mortality (HR 0.87, 95% CI, 0.71-1.07, P = .18) or recurrence (HR 0.89, 95% CI, 0.67-1.16, P = .38). Post-diagnostic aspirin use was significantly associated with lower breast-cancer-specific mortality (HR 0.79, 95% CI, 0.64-0.98, P = .032). CONCLUSIONS: The only significant association of aspirin with breast cancer outcomes is lower breast-cancer-specific mortality in patients who used aspirin post-diagnostically. However, factors such as selection bias and high inter-study heterogeneity mean that this result should not be treated as conclusive, and more substantial evidence such as that provided by RCTs is needed before any decisions on new clinical uses for aspirin should be made.

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Journal article



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aspirin, breast cancer, meta-analysis, systematic review