Anti-Inflammatory Drug & Cancer Relation

There is an association with the regular use of over-the-counter non-steroidal inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as aspirin and ibuprofen that is associated with an increased risk of dying in patients diagnosed with Type 1 endometrial cancers.  This information is revealed by a new population-based study that is led by The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC-James).

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 more than 4,000 patients in an observational study.  It was found that regular NSAID use was associated with a 66% increased risk of dying from endometrial cancer among women with Type 1 endometrial cancers, which is a typically less-aggressive form of the disease.  It was significant among patients who reported past or current NSAID use at the time of diagnosis but strongest among those patients who had used NSAIDs for more than 10 years, but ceased the usage prior to diagnosis.  The use of NSAIDs had no association with mortality from typically more aggressive Type 2 cancers.

Chronic inflammation being involved in endometrial cancer and the progression is shown by increased evidence.  Recent data suggests that inhibition of inflammation through NSAID use plays a role, according to Theodore Brasky, PhD, co-lead author of the study and a cancer epidemiologist with OSUCCC-James.  It shows a clear association that merits additional research to help fully understand the biologic mechanisms behind this phenomenon. 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 cancer, their findings were surprising.  The specific dosages and the NSAID usage after surgery were not available in the current study. They are continuing to analyze the biologic mechanisms by which inflammation is related to cancer progression.

Their findings are reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.  They feel that their findings and results are worthy of further investigation and that it is important to remember that endometrial cancer patients are far more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than their cancer, so women who take NSAIDs to reduce risk of heart attack should continue doing so.  They further comment that any woman concerned about the risks of long-term NSAID use should consult with her physician.

Dr Fredda Branyon