NSAID Use Linked to Reduced Risk of Skin Cancer

Lower risk of squamous cell carcinoma, malignant melanoma; notably in long-term, high-intensity use

TUESDAY, May 29 (HealthDay News) -- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including nonselective NSAIDs and older cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 inhibitors, are associated with a decreased risk of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and malignant melanoma (MM), particularly among long-term and high-intensity NSAID users, according to a study published online May 29 in Cancer.

Sigrun Alba Johannesdottir, from the Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, and colleagues analyzed all 1,974 incident cases of SCC, 13,316 incident cases of basal cell carcinoma (BCC), and 3,242 incident cases of MM in northern Denmark from 1991 to 2009. Approximately 178,655 controls were age-, gender-, and county of residence-matched to the cases. A prescription database was used to ascertain drug usage.

The researchers found that, overall, ever use (more than two prescriptions) of NSAIDs was associated with a decreased risk of SCC (incidence rate ratio [IRR], 0.85) and MM (IRR, 0.87). Higher intensity use (>25 percent prescription coverage during the total duration of use) and long-term use (at least seven years) strengthened the association. NSAID use did not correlate with an overall reduced risk of BCC (IRR, 0.97; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.93 to 1.01), but there was a significantly reduced risk of BCC at sites other than the head and neck with long-term use (IRR, 0.85) and high-intensity use (IRR, 0.79). Use of nonselective NSAIDs and older COX-2 inhibitors (diclofenac, etodolac, and meloxicam) primarily drove the reduced risk.

"The current results indicated that NSAID use may decrease the risk of SCC and MM," the authors write.

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