NSAIDs May Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

Inconsistent results may be related to COX-2 expression
By Pat F. Bass, M.D.
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Oct. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Although non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are associated with risk reduction in breast cancer, the relationship is not a gradient-dose response where increasing dose confers a protective effect, researchers report in the Oct. 15 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Bahi Takkouche, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain, and colleagues performed a meta-analysis of data from 38 studies, involving 2,788,715 women, to examine the association between NSAIDs and breast cancer.

Overall, NSAID use was associated with a relative risk reduction of 12 percent compared to non-use, the researchers found. Aspirin and ibuprofen demonstrated a relative risk reduction of 13 percent and 21 percent, respectively. Increased intake, either increased total dose or longer duration, did not alter the risk reduction among NSAIDs, aspirin or ibuprofen, the authors report.

In an accompanying editorial, Louise R. Howe, Ph.D., of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, and Scott M. Lippman, M.D., of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, point out that the clinical data from the studies reviewed in the meta-analysis are inconsistent and write "this inconsistency is likely attributable to contrasting expression patterns of COX-2, a key target of NSAIDs, in breast and colon neoplasia, and to differing activities of individual NSAIDs (which have varying selectivity for COX-2 versus COX-1), including a potentially selective impact of certain NSAIDs on hormone receptor-positive breast tumors."

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