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PJ Online | News: Aspirin reduces risk of lung cancer

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The Pharmaceutical Journal
Vol 268 No 7204 p895-899
29 June 2002

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British Journal of Cancer (more)

Aspirin reduces risk of lung cancer

Long-term use of aspirin might reduce the risk of lung cancer in women, researchers from the New York University School of Medicine report. The association is particularly evident in patients with non-small cell lung cancer, they say.

In a case-controlled study, the researchers analysed data for 81 subjects with lung cancer and 808 individually matched controls. They found that, compared with those who did not take aspirin, the odds ratio for lung cancer (all types) in women who reported taking aspirin three or more times a week for at least six months was 0.66 (95 per cent confidence interval, 0.34 to 1.28). A significant association between duration of use and reduced risk of non-small cell lung cancer was also observed in a subset of 62 cases with non-small cell cancer and 618 matched controls.

The researchers comment that the association is consistent with experimental evidence, indicating that the chemopreventive effects of aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs could be mediated through the inhibition of cyclo-oxygenase-2. The enzyme appears to be over-expressed in human lung carcinoma, particularly in non-small cell lung cancer.

They conclude that because regular aspirin use may occasionally result in serious side effects, "specific recommendations regarding use of aspirin for prevention of lung cancer should be deferred until confirmation of the effect by larger studies and determination of the effective dose and duration of use" (British Journal of Cancer 2002;87:43).

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