HealthDay News — Taking low-dose aspirin every day may significantly lower a woman’s risk for developing ovarian cancer, according to researchers from the National Institutes of Health.
In 12 studies that involved nearly 20,000 women, those who used aspirin daily had a 20% lower risk for ovarian cancer than those who used aspirin once a week, Britton Trabert, PhD, of the National Cancer Institute’s division of cancer epidemiology, and colleagues reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
It is known that chronic or persistent inflammation can increase the risk for cancer and other diseases. Findings from previously published studies have suggested that non-aspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) and aspirin, which has anti-inflammatory properties — may reduce overall risk for cancer.
To better understand the association between anti-inflammatory drugs and ovarian cancer risk, Trabert and colleagues assessed data from 7,776 women with ovarian cancer and 11,843 women without the disease, who participated in studies that were part of the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium.
They looked at use of aspirin, non-aspirin NSAIDs and acetaminophen, a drug with no known anti-inflammatory properties, among women and how it affected ovarian cancer risk.
Among participants, 18% used aspirin regularly, 24% used non-aspirin NSAIDs and 16% used acetaminophen.
Women who reported using low-dose aspirin (less than 100 mg) daily had a 20% reduced risk for ovarian cancer compared with those who used aspirin less than once a week, the researchers found.
Ovarian cancer risk was 10% lower in women who used high-dose non-aspirin NSAIDs (more than 500 mg) at least once a week, compared with those who used them less often. However, this difference was not statistically significant.
No link was found between acetaminophen use and ovarian cancer risk.
“Our study suggests that aspirin regimens, proven to protect against heart attack, may reduce the risk of ovarian cancer as well,” Trabert said in a press release. “However intriguing our results are, they should not influence current clinical practice. Additional studies are needed to explore the delicate balance of risk and benefit for this potential chemopreventive agent, as well as studies to identify [how] aspirin may reduce ovarian cancer risk.”