Ovarian Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

Association Between Analgesic Use and Risk of Ovarian Cancer

By: Sarah Campen, PharmD
Posted: Monday, August 13, 2018

Frequent aspirin use is associated with a modest decrease in ovarian cancer risk, revealed a prospective analysis of 13 studies from the Ovarian Cancer Cohort Consortium. According to Britton Trabert, PhD, of the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues, women who use aspirin at least 6 days per week versus infrequent or no use of aspirin have a 10% reduction in ovarian cancer risk. The results were published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. However, risk estimates for frequent, longer-term aspirin and nonaspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs were modestly elevated, although they did not reach statistical significance.

“The observed potential elevated risks for ≥ 10 years of frequent aspirin and [nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug] use require further study but could be due to confounding by medical indications for use or variation in drug dosing,” concluded Dr. Trabert and colleagues. Nevertheless, “daily aspirin use may provide a very modestly reduced risk with respect to incident ovarian cancer.”

The study included data from 758,829 women who self-reported analgesic use at study enrollment. Among them, 3,514 developed ovarian cancer. Frequent use (defined as 4 days per week) of aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or acetaminophen was not associated with risk. There was also a suggestive elevated risk associated with daily acetaminophen use that was stronger for serous tumors, although the authors pointed out that “the increased risk with daily acetaminophen use observed in this study was based on a limited number of exposed cases and should be interpreted with caution.”

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