Certain pain medications do not appear to be associated with skin cancer risk

Feb 15, 2010

Contrary to previous hypotheses, the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs does not appear associated with risk of squamous cell skin cancer, according to a report posted online today that will appear in the April print issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen and celecoxib reduce pain and inflammation by blocking an enzyme involved in producing inflammatory compounds, according to background information in the article. NSAIDs may also inhibit the development of by inducing cells to die and inhibiting the growth of new blood vessels.

Laboratory studies of cells and animals have indicated that NSAIDs protect against squamous cell carcinomas, common types of cancers that appear in the upper layers of the skin. However, while some studies have examined the associations between NSAIDs and other types of cancers—including colorectal, breast, prostate and lung—few have assessed the association between NSAID use and risk in human populations.

Maryam M. Asgari, M.D., M.P.H., of Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Oakland, and colleagues studied 415 health plan members who were diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in 2004 and 415 control patients who were the same age, [Bleep] and race but had no history of . Participants completed a questionnaire about NSAID use in the 10 years prior.

The majority of participants (61 percent) reported regular use of NSAIDs within the previous ten years, including 48 percent who used aspirin, 18 percent who used ibuprofen, 5 percent who used naproxen and 4 percent who used nabumetone.

"Regular use of any NSAID was not associated with a reduction in squamous cell carcinoma risk," the authors write. "Although NSAID users whose exposure was of short duration (one to three years) appeared to be at somewhat increased risk for squamous cell carcinoma, we found no consistent effects of duration of use of any NSAID on squamous cell carcinoma risk." Squamous cell risk also did not appear to change regardless of NSAID dose, whether the medications were administered by a pharmacy nor with any individual type of NSAID medication.

"Given the potential toxic effects of NSAIDs, including platelet dysfunction and gastric ulcers, more uniformly efficacious chemopreventive agents with safer adverse effect profiles need to be explored," the authors conclude.

Explore further: Generation of tanners see spike in deadly melanoma

More information: Arch Dermatol. 2010;146[4]:(doi:10.1001/archdermatol.2009.374

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Men who take aspirin have significantly lower PSA levels

Nov 16, 2008

The use of aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is significantly associated with lower PSA levels, especially among men with prostate cancer, say researchers at Vanderbilt University.

Ibuprofen linked to reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease

May 05, 2008

Long-term use of ibuprofen and other drugs commonly used for aches and pains was associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study published in the May 6, 2008, issue of Neurology, the medical journa ...

Recommended for you

Why we should vaccinate boys against HPV as well as girls

1 hour ago

Gillian Prue, from the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen's University of Belfast, says that the human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is common in men and can lead to genital warts and the development of some head and ...

Generation of tanners see spike in deadly melanoma

14 hours ago

(AP)—Stop sunbathing and using indoor tanning beds, the acting U.S. surgeon general warned in a report released Tuesday that cites an alarming 200 percent jump in deadly melanoma cases since 1973.

Penn team makes cancer glow to improve surgical outcomes

14 hours ago

The best way to cure most cases of cancer is to surgically remove the tumor. The Achilles heel of this approach, however, is that the surgeon may fail to extract the entire tumor, leading to a local recurrence.

User comments : 0