Regular Aspirin, Ibuprofen Use Linked to Increased Mortality From Endometrial Cancers

Regular use of over-the-counter, anti-inflammatory drugs associated with an increased risk of death in patients with cancer.

Regular use of aspirin and ibuprofen may increase the risk of death in patients with type 1 endometrial cancers.

An observational, multi-institutional study examined the relationship between long-term non-steroidal inflammatory drug (NSAID) use and the risk of death from endometrial cancer. There were more than 4000 patients included in the study.

The results, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, showed that regular NSAID use was associated with a 66% increased risk of dying from endometrial cancer among women with the type 1 form of endometrial cancers.

Although the association was statistically significant among patients who reported past or current NSAID use at the time of diagnosis, the strongest association was seen among patients who used NSAIDs in the past for more than 10 years, but had stopped prior to diagnosis.

The use of NSAIDs was not associated with mortality from type 2 cancers, the study concluded.

“There is an increasing evidence that chronic inflammation is involved in endometrial cancer and progression and recent data suggests that inhibition of inflammation through NSAID use plays a role,” said co-lead author Theodore Brasky, PhD. “This study identifies a clear association that merits additional research to help us fully understand the biologic mechanisms behind this phenomenon. 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.”

One significant limitation to the study was information about specific dosages and NSAID use after surgery was not available in the current study, according to the authors. The study was led by The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center (OSUCCC).

“These results are intriguing and worthy of further investigation,” said co-author David Cohn, MD. “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 their risk of heart attack—–under the guidance of their physicians––should continue doing so. While these data are interesting, there is not yet enough data to make a public recommendation for or against taking NSAIDs to reduce the risk of cancer-related death.”