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Analgesic Use and Risk of Ovarian Cancer

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Key Points

  • Aspirin use ≥ 6 times per week for ≥ 6 months was associated with a 10% reduction in risk for ovarian cancer.
  • Aspirin, NSAID, or acetaminophen use for ≥ 4 days per week was not associated with reduced risk.

In a study of Ovarian Cancer Cohort Consortium data reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Trabert et al found that daily aspirin use was associated with a modest reduction in the risk of ovarian cancer.

The study included prospective individual-level data from 13 studies in the Ovarian Cancer Cohort Consortium, including 758,829 women who reported analgesic use at study enrollment. Among them, 3,514 developed ovarian cancer.

Risk Estimates

Almost daily aspirin use (≥ 6 d/wk for ≥ 6 months) vs infrequent/nonuse was associated with a 10% reduction in risk of ovarian cancer (rate ratio [RR] = 0.90, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.82–1.00, P = .05). Frequent use (≥ 4 d/wk for ≥ 6 months) of aspirin (RR = 0.95, 95% CI = 0.88–1.03), nonaspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs; RR = 1.00, 95% CI = 0.90–1.11), or acetaminophen (RR = 1.05, 95% CI = 0.88–1.24) was not associated with reduced risk. Daily acetaminophen use (RR = 1.28, 95% CI = 1.00–1.65, P = .05) was associated with increased risk. Risk was nonsignificantly modestly elevated for frequent use for prolonged periods (≥ 10 years) for aspirin (RR = 1.15, 95% CI = 0.98–1.34) and nonaspirin NSAIDs (RR = 1.19, 95% CI = 0.84–1.68).

The investigators concluded, “This large, prospective analysis suggests that women who use aspirin daily have a slightly lower risk of developing ovarian cancer (~10% lower than infrequent/nonuse)—similar to the risk reduction observed in [previously reported] case-control analyses. The observed potential elevated risks for 10+ years of frequent aspirin and NSAID use require further study but could be due to confounding by medical indications for use or variation in drug dosing.”

The study was supported by a grant from the Department of Defense Ovarian Cancer Research Program.

Britton Trabert, PhD, of the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, is the corresponding author for the Journal of the National Cancer Institute article. 

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.


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