Regular Ibuprofen Use May Lower Lung Cancer Risk in Smokers

Individuals with a history of cigarette smoking may benefit from regular ibuprofen use.

The regular use of ibuprofen by individuals with a history of smoking may lower the risk of lung cancer, according to new findings presented at the IASLC 17th World Conference on Lung Cancer in Vienna, Austria.

Previous studies have shown that chronic inflammation appears to increase the risk of lung cancer, and medications that reduce inflammation have, in turn, been shown to reduce this risk. But until now, few studies have examined the association between lung cancer and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), according to a press release.

Investigators examined data from 10,735 participants in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III). Baseline data on smoking, NSAIDS, and other lifestyle variables were collected from the participants between 1988 and 1994. The cause-specific mortality status was obtained through probabilistic record matching, which used the National Death Index through 2006.

The Cox proportional-hazards regression models were used to estimate HRs to quantify the association between NSAID use and lung cancer death. Adjustments were made for current smokers and other variables.

After more than 18-years of follow-up, 269 individuals died from lung cancer, of whom, 252 (93.6%) reported a history of cigarette smoking. Since all but 17 of 269 fatal lung cancer cases occurred among current and former smokers, estimates of the NSAID effects were ascertained from a sub-cohort of 5882 individuals with a self-reported history of past or current smoking, according to the release.

Prospective data from the NHANES III showed ibuprofen intake among adults with a past or current smoking history was associated with a 48% reduction in the risk of dying from lung cancer. There were no statistically significant effects seen with aspirin and acetaminophen.

“These results suggest that regular use of certain NSAIDs may be beneficial for high-risk subgroups of smokers as a lung cancer prevention strategy,” said investigator Dr Marisa Bittoni.