Use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is associated with a decreased risk of prostate cancer (PCa), according to researchers. The protective effect is more pronounced among men with a history of prostatitis.

An analysis of data from the EPICAP (EPIdemiology of Prostate CAncer) case-control study showed that men who had ever used NSAIDs had a significant 23% decreased risk of PCa compared with men who never used NSAIDs, investigators reported online in Cancer Medicine. Men who used NSAIDs that preferentially inhibited COX-2 activity had a significant 52% decreased risk. Use of non-aspirin NSAIDs was associated with a significant 28% decreased risk of PCa overall and a 51% decreased risk of high-grade PCa, defined as Gleason score 7 (4 + 3) or higher.

Compared with men who did not use NSAIDs, those who took 1 or more NSAID pill per day had a 62% decreased risk of PCa.

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The study also found that the protective effect of NSAIDs was greater among men with a history of prostatitis. In these patients, use of any NSAIDs and use of non-aspirin NSAIDs were associated with a 68% and 79% decreased risk of PCa, respectively, compared with non-users. By comparison, among men without a history of prostatitis, the use of any NSAIDs and use of non-aspirin NSAIDs were associated with a 15% and 18% decreased risk of PCa, respectively.

The study, led by Florence Menegaux, MD, PhD, of the Center for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health, Team Cancer and Environment, INSERM, Université Paris-Sud, Villejuif, France, enrolled 819 men aged less than 75 years with newly diagnosed PCa and 879 age-matched controls.

The researcher concluded that their study “provides convincing evidence” that frequent and chronic use of NSAIDs decreases the risk of PCa, especially aggressive PCa. The decreased risk observed among men with a history of prostatitis is additional evidence that targeting chronic inflammation may help prevent prostate carcinogenesis, they noted.

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Doat S, Cénée S, Trétarre B, et al. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and prostate cancer risk: results from the EPICAP study. Cancer Med. 2017; published online ahead of print. doi: 10.1002/cam4.1186