Regular use of nonaspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may increase a person’s risk of renal cell cancer (RCC), new findings suggest.

In a large prospective study, regular use of nonaspirin NSAIDs was associated with a 51% increased risk of RCC after adjusting for multiple variables, according to a report in Archives of Internal Medicine (2011;171:1487-1493).

The researchers, led by Eunyoung Cho, ScD, of the Channing Laboratory and Harvard Medical School in Boston, analyzed data from 77,525 women in the Nurses’ Health Study and 49,403 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. The investigators identified 333 RCC cases during a follow-up of 16 years for the female cohort and 20 years for the male cohort.

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The absolute risk differences for regular users compared with nonusers of nonaspirin NSAIDs were 9.15 per 100,000 person-years for the women and 10.92 per 100,000 person-years for the men.

In addition, longer use of nonaspirin NSAIDs was associated with increasing risk. Compared with nonusers, subjects who used nonaspirin NSAIDs for at least four years but less than 10 years had a 36% increased risk of RCC. Those who used the drugs for 10 years or more had a nearly threefold increased risk.

The researchers noted that, to their knowledge, this study is the first prospective investigation of nonaspirin NSAIDs and the largest prospective study of analgesics in relation to RCC risk.

In an accompanying editor’s note, Kirsten L. Johansen, MD, observed: “Although the absolute risk differences between users and nonusers of NSAIDs were quite low, we find the results compelling in light of the widespread use of these drugs.”