Study Finds NSAIDs May Increase Risk Of Prostate Cancer

An emerging study reveals that NSAIDS may increase prostate cancer risks, which is a finding contrary to prior studies. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs) are used by millions for headaches, minor pain, arthritis, lowering fever, and for reducing swelling and include nonprescription aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve); prescription medications include COX-2 inhibitors such as Celebrex (celecoxib).

University of Tampere School of Medicine researchers, led by Teemu J. Murtola, MD, identified all newly diagnosed prostate cancer (PCa) cases in Finland from 1995 to 2002, said Renal and Urology News, and found that NSAID use is linked to increased PCa risks overall and to aggressive PCa. The Finnish researchers reported their findings at the 27th Annual Congress of the European Association of Urology.

The research found that men who had ever used NSAIDs experienced a 31% increased risk of PCa overall and a 63% increased risk of developing advanced PCa, said Renal and Urology News. The team estimated the likelihood of NSAID use in users of drugs to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, and hypertension.

“The major difference between our study and most of the previous studies is the source of information on NSAID usage,” Dr. Murtola said. “In our study, the information came from a national prescription database, whereas most of the previous studies relied on survey information, i.e., on self-reported data,” he added, said Renal and Urology News.

“Because all NSAIDs in our study were prescribed by a physician, all users for certain had an indication for the usage,” Dr. Murtola said. “We believe this was often some chronic condition possibly associated with chronic systemic inflammation. An example of this could be arthrosis caused by excess obesity. Therefore, the NSAID users in our study likely were, as a group, different from previous studies where most users had been using prescription-free NSAIDs most often in short-term.” In other words, the increased risk could be due to underlying comorbidities—other conditions—for which the NSAIDs were prescribed, Dr. Murtola told Renal & Urology News.

We previously wrote that U.S. researchers found that taking NSAIDS lowers the protein levels (PSAs) in a man’s blood that are used to screen for prostate cancer. The research could not determine if the men studied had a lower risk for developing prostate cancer or if the NSAIDs create difficulty in detecting prostate tumors using a common screening blood test. NSAIDs could disguise a man’s prostate cancer risk by lowering PSA levels while his risk remains unchanged.

We recently wrote that NSAIDs, long been linked to increased risks of adverse events, were most recently linked to, according to a Harvard research report, increased risks for developing kidney cancer. COX-2 inhibitors including Celebrex (celecoxib), have been linked to increased risks for heart failure, death, and even erectile dysfunction (ED).

According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed form of cancer in men worldwide, with about 780,000 men diagnosed annually. Prostate cancer is also the sixth mostly deadly form of cancer in men, with about 250,000 deaths per year.

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