Could Continuous Use of NSAIDs Be Linked to Cancer Risk Reductions?

Long-term aspirin use may lessen colorectal cancer risk.

Long-term aspirin use may lessen colorectal cancer risk.

The continuous use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) has been found to be associated with decreased colorectal cancer risk, according to a new study.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common non-skin cancer in the world. Prior research indicated that the continued use of NSAIDs is effective in reducing the risk of colorectal cancer, but the latest study proves that further research is needed to determine the optimal use of aspirin for cancer prevention.

The study reviewed data on drug use, comorbidities, and history of colonoscopy from prescription and patient registries in Northern Denmark. Based on the number of prescriptions filled, the scientists determined that a regimen of 75 to 150 mg of aspirin continuously for 5 years was associated with a 27% reduced risk for colorectal cancer.

More than 5 years of NSAID use was associated with a 30 to 45% reduction in risk. Non-aspirin NSAIDs with the highest COX-2 selectivity were associated with the largest risk reductions.

While the findings may seem promising at first, the authors caution that only 2 to 3% of all low-dose aspirin users in the study population were patients with the highest adherence. These persons may have a risk profile that differs from that of the general population when it comes to colorectal cancer.

Additionally, other lifestyle factors were not considered during the study.