Aspirin use is associated with a significantly decreased risk of prostate cancer, with the greatest reduction in risk found with daily use of low doses of the drug, according to researchers.

A team led by Janet L. Stanford, MD, MPH, of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, conducted a population-based case-control study that included 1,001 patients diagnosed with prostate cancer and 942 age-matched controls from King County, Washington. Current aspirin users had a significant 21% decreased risk of prostate cancer compared with nonusers, Dr. Stanford and her colleagues reported online in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Subjects who used aspirin for more than five years had a significant 24% decreased risk. Daily use of low-dose aspirin was associated with a significant 29% decreased risk.

The investigators observed no link between prostate cancer risk and the use of acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) other than aspirin.

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The significant inverse association between prostate cancer risk and use of aspirin provides additional support for the role of inflammation in the development of this cancer, the researchers observed. If aspirin delays the onset or progression of prostate cancer through its anti-inflammatory activities, then the drug may offer another agent to be tested in prevention trials, they added.

“Aspirin is a widely used and inexpensive medication, and the potential public health implications of an effective chemopreventive agent for prostate cancer ar considerable,” the investigators concluded.