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11-10-2010 | Oncology | Article

NSAIDs do not reduce the risk for prostate cancer


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MedWire News: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) do not reduce a man's risk for prostate cancer, show the results of a US study.

Despite recent research indicating an inverse association between NSAIDs and prostate cancer risk, the researchers saw no risk-reduction among men taking low-dose aspirin, regular-strength aspirin, ibuprofen, or any non-aspirin NSAIDs, compared with men not taking these drugs.

The team did observe a minor reduction in the risk for high-grade disease among men taking regular strength aspirin, however.

Theodore Brasky, from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington, and colleagues explain that "there is increasing evidence which suggests that chronic inflammation is important in prostate carcinogenesis," and that NSAIDs have previously shown anti-cancer properties, both in vitro and in vivo.

They compared 10-year NSAID use with incidence of total prostate cancer and prostate cancer by grade in a cohort of 34,132 men from the Vitamins And Lifestyle study whose data weree linked to the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database.

Participants completed a questionnaire between 2000 and 2002 indicating their use of NSAIDs, which was classed as low (either as <4 days/week, or <4 years overall) or high (either ≥4 days/week, or ≥4 years overall). High-grade cancer was defined as Gleason score 7 (4+3) or 8-10, and low-grade disease as 2-6 or 7 (3+4).

After adjustment for age, race, education level, body mass index, multivitamin use, and family history of prostate cancer, no significant observations were observed between use of any NSAIDs and the total risk for prostate cancer.

When stratified by grade, regular-strength aspirin reduced the risk for high-grade disease by a nonsignificant 27%.

"It may be that the null result we observed with aspirin use and total prostate cancer risk is due to residual confounding by PSA [prostate-specific antigen] screening, as we only collected data on PSA testing at baseline," write the researchers in the journal Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention.

"If aspirin use is positively associated with subsequent prostate cancer screening, a small reduction in risk would be negatively confounded towards 1.0," they conclude.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Sarah Guy

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