Aspirin use for cancer prevention: A systematic review of public, patient and healthcare provider attitudes and adherence behaviours

•Most eligible people offered participation in an aspirin trial accepted.

•Among participants, most reported high (≥80%) adherence on a day-to-day basis.

•No studies examined uptake and adherence in routine care.

•Further research is needed to identify the barriers to using aspirin in practice.

We undertook a systematic review to synthesise the data on attitudes and behaviour towards the use of aspirin for cancer prevention, and healthcare providers’ attitudes towards implementing aspirin in practice. Searches were carried out across 12 databases (e.g. MEDLINE, EMBASE). We used the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool to evaluate study quality, and conducted a narrative synthesis of the data. The review was pre-registered (PROSPERO: CRD42018093453). Thirty-eight studies were identified. Uptake and adherence data were all from trials. Trials recruited healthy participants, those at higher risk of cancer, and those with cancer. Four studies reported moderate to high (40.9–77.7%) uptake to an aspirin trial among people who were eligible. Most trials (18/22) reported high day-to-day adherence (≥80%). Three trials observed no association between gender and adherence. One trial found no association between adherence and colorectal cancer risk. Three studies reported moderate to high (43.6–76.0%) hypothetical willingness to use aspirin. Two studies found that a high proportion of healthcare providers (72.0–76.0%) perceived aspirin to be a suitable cancer prevention option. No qualitative studies were identified. The likelihood that eligible users of aspirin would participate in a trial evaluating the use of aspirin for preventive therapy was moderate to high. Among participants in a trial, day-to-day adherence was high. Further research is needed to identify uptake and adherence rates in routine care, the factors affecting aspirin use, and the barriers to implementing aspirin into clinical care.