NSAIDs Implicated

Long-term anti-inflammatory drug use may increase cancer-related deaths for certain patients

Ted BraskyRegular use of over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen is associated with greater risk of dying in patients diagnosed with type 1 endometrial cancers, according to a new population-based study led by researchers at the OSUCCC – James.

In this observational study, a multi-institutional team of cancer researchers sought to understand the association of regular NSAID use and the risk of dying from endometrial cancer among a cohort of more than 4,000 patients. They found that regular NSAID use was associated with a 66-percent increased risk of dying among women with type 1 endometrial cancer, a typically less-aggressive form of the disease.

The association was statistically significant among patients who reported past or current NSAID use at the time of diagnosis, but it was strongest among patients who had used NSAIDs for more than 10 years in the past and had ceased use prior to diagnosis. NSAID use was not associated with mortality from typically more aggressive type 2 cancers.

“There is increasing evidence that chronic inflammation is involved in endometrial cancer risk and progression, and recent data suggests that inhibition of inflammation through NSAID use plays a role in that process,” says Theodore Brasky, PhD, co-lead author of the study and a cancer epidemiologist with the OSUCCC – James.

“This study identifies a clear association that merits additional research to help us fully understand the biologic mechanisms behind this phenomenon,” Brasky adds. “Our finding was surprising because it goes against previous studies that suggest NSAIDs can be used to reduce inflammation and reduce the risk of developing or dying from certain cancers, like colorectal cancer.”

Researchers point out that information about specific dosages and NSAID use after surgery was not available in the current study, which represents a significant limitation.

Published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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