American Association for Cancer Research

AACR Press Releases

NSAID Use Associated With Lower Colorectal Cancer Mortality Rates Among Postmenopausal Women


October 23, 2011

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  • Lower colorectal cancer mortality rates were associated with consistent NSAID use at study enrollment and three years later.
  • Lower colorectal cancer mortality rates were associated with at least 10 years of reported NSAID use.
BOSTON — Postmenopausal women who reported having used nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for at least 10 years at the time of enrollment in the Women’s Health Initiative study had a lower risk for death from colorectal cancer compared with women who reported no use of these drugs at enrollment, according to data presented at the 10th AACR International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research, held Oct. 22-25, 2011.

“Our results suggest that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) use is associated with lower colorectal cancer mortality among postmenopausal women who use these medications more consistently and for longer periods of time,” said Anna E. Coghill, M.P.H., a doctoral student in epidemiology at the University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

She and her colleagues evaluated the association between aspirin and nonaspirin NSAID use and colorectal cancer mortality in 160,143 postmenopausal women enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) who did not report a history of colorectal cancer at baseline. The study population included women enrolled in the WHI clinical trials and women enrolled in the WHI observational study.

“The WHI study population represents a large and well-characterized cohort of postmenopausal women, and the medication data collected in this cohort made it possible for us to investigate multiple types, durations and strengths of NSAID use,” Coghill said.

Researchers confirmed 2,119 cases of colorectal cancer through medical reports and verified 492 deaths due to colorectal cancer through a centralized medical record and death certificate review.

Coghill and colleagues found that reported use of NSAIDs such as aspirin, ibuprofen and prescription NSAIDs at baseline, by itself, was not associated with colorectal cancer mortality.

However, women in the study who reported using NSAIDs at both study enrollment and three years after study enrollment had an approximately 30 percent lower rate of death due to colorectal cancer compared with women who reported no NSAID use or use at only one of these two time points. Researchers also observed significant reductions in colorectal cancer mortality among women who reported at least 10 years of NSAID use at study enrollment compared with those who reported no use.

“The results of our study help to further clarify the importance of different durations of NSAID use over time for the risk for dying from colorectal cancer,” Coghill said.

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The mission of the American Association for Cancer Research is to prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1907, the AACR is the world’s oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research. The membership includes 33,000 laboratory, translational and clinical researchers; health care professionals; and cancer survivors and advocates in the United States and more than 90 other countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise from the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer through high-quality scientific and educational programs. It funds innovative, meritorious research grants, research fellowships and career development awards to young investigators, and it also funds cutting-edge research projects conducted by senior researchers. The AACR has numerous fruitful collaborations with organizations and foundations in the U.S. and abroad, and functions as the Scientific Partner of Stand Up To Cancer, a charitable initiative that supports groundbreaking research aimed at getting new cancer treatments to patients in an accelerated time frame. The AACR Annual Meeting attracts more than 17,000 participants who share the latest discoveries and developments in the field. Special Conferences throughout the year present novel data across a wide variety of topics in cancer research, treatment and patient care, and Educational Workshops are held for the training of young cancer investigators. The AACR publishes seven major peer-reviewed journals: Cancer Discovery; Cancer Research; Clinical Cancer Research; Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention; Molecular Cancer Therapeutics; Molecular Cancer Research; and Cancer Prevention Research. In 2010, AACR journals received 20 percent of the total number of citations given to oncology journals. The AACR also publishes Cancer Today, a magazine for cancer patients, survivors and their caregivers, which provides practical knowledge and new hope for cancer survivors. A major goal of the AACR is to educate the general public and policymakers about the value of cancer research in improving public health, the vital importance of increases in sustained funding for cancer research and biomedical science, and the need for national policies that foster innovation and the acceleration of progress against the 200 diseases we call cancer.     

Media Contact:
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