October 10, 2008

NSAIDs May Reduce Risk of Breast Cancer


NSAIDs May Reduce Risk of Breast Cancer

The use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), including both aspirin and ibuprofen, appears to significantly reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. These results were recently published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer and is the subject of extensive research regarding prevention. ?

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are agents that help reduce inflammation and are often taken for pain relief. Some research has indicated that NSAIDs may protect against the development of some types of cancer; however, confirmation from these studies is necessary to truly understand this association. Aspirin is one of several NSAIDS, though it has a slightly different mechanism of action from other NSAIDS. Many individuals take aspirin on a regular basis to reduce their risk of a stroke.

Research continues to explore a potential association between NSAID use and breast cancer incidence. Because the mechanism through which NSAIDs work includes the suppression of estrogen, researchers have speculated that NSAID use may reduce the risk of hormone-positive breast cancer. Hormone-positive breast cancer, also referred to as estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer, is the most common type of breast cancer and is stimulated to grow from exposure to the female hormones estrogen and/or progesterone.

Researchers recently conducted a large meta-analysis including results from several studies exploring the potential association between the use of NSAIDs and the risk of breast cancer. The analysis included over 2,788,000 women, and separate analyses were conducted for ibuprofen and aspirin use.

  • NSAID use was associated with a 12% reduction in breast cancer incidence.
  • Use of aspiring and ibuprofen yielded similar results in risk of breast cancer.

The researchers concluded: ?This meta-analysis provides evidence that NSAID use is associated with reduced risk for breast cancer. Future research should include careful evaluation of the biologic mechanisms involved in the relationship between NSAIDs and breast cancer.?

All individuals should speak with their healthcare provider before using any NSAIDS, as all medications are associated with side effects.

Reference: Takkouche B, Regueira-M?ndez C, Etminan M. Breast Cancer and Use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: a meta-analysis. Journal of the National Cancer Institute [early online publication]. October 2008. DOI: 10.1093/jnci/djn324.

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Tags: Breast Cancer, Screening/Prevention Breast Cancer, Uncategorized