Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ibuprofen, Aspirin May Reduce Woman's Risk Of Developing Breast Cancer

Date:
July 16, 2003
Source:
Ohio State University
Summary:
New research suggests that regular ibuprofen use may cut a woman's risk of developing breast cancer in half.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – New research suggests that regular ibuprofen use may cut a woman's risk of developing breast cancer in half.

Related Articles


Findings reported July 13 at the annual meeting of the American Association of Cancer Research in Washington, D.C., indicate that using ibuprofen – a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) – on a regular basis for more than 10 years may decrease a woman's chance by nearly 50 percent that she will develop breast cancer.

Using aspirin – another NSAID – reduced breast cancer risk by about 22 percent, said Randall Harris, the study's lead author and the co-director of the Center of Molecular Epidemiology and Environmental Health at Ohio State University.

He and his colleagues used data from a survey that followed nearly 81,000 women for four years to determine what effect NSAIDs had on decreasing the incidence of breast cancer. These women were some of more than 100,000 women participating in the Women's Health Initiative, an ongoing nationwide study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health that looks at a variety of women's health issues.

"We're discovering that these compounds – NSAIDs – aren't just for pain and inflammation relief," said Harris, who is also the co-principal investigator of the Women's Health Initiative clinical center at Ohio State. "This study shows that these drugs also have significant anticancer effects."

The NSAIDs examined in this study included over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen and aspirin.

At the outset of this study, 80,741 postmenopausal women aged 50 to 79 were asked how often and for how long they had used NSAIDs. These women were selected because they had no personal history of cancer.

Each participant was also asked a series of questions that helped researchers evaluate her risk of developing breast cancer – questions such as how often she exercised, her body mass, if she had ever given birth, if she was on estrogen therapy, and if she had a family history of cancer. The researchers put the women into two groups: those who reported taking NSAIDs on a regular basis – two or more tablets a week – and those who either seldom or never took NSAIDs.

The participants completed health interviews yearly for four years. During that time, 1,392 women – or 1.7 percent of those enrolled in the study -- developed breast cancer.

Women who regularly took NSAIDs for five to nine years had a 21 percent reduction in the incidence of breast cancer. Women taking these drugs on a regular basis for 10 or more years had a 28 percent reduction in the risk of developing the disease. It wasn't until the researchers separated these women further into groups based on the type of NSAID they took that the effect of ibuprofen vs. aspirin became clear.

"The results suggest that there were about 150 fewer breast cancer cases per 100,000 women each year among NSAID users vs. those who didn't use NSAIDs," Harris said. "This translates into an approximately 30 percent reduction for all NSAID users, and a 50 percent reduction in risk among ibuprofen users."

Even women in high-risk groups – those who were obese, those who had never given birth or gave birth later in life, those with a family history of breast cancer, etc. – still had the same level of reduction if they were regular NSAID users.

Harris thinks the reason that NSAIDs – particularly ibuprofen – have such a powerful effect is due to their ability to block the inflammatory process. Scientists believe these drugs block the gene responsible for triggering inflammation in the body. For unknown reasons, this gene, COX-2, is inappropriately turned on – and stays on – in breast and other types of cancer.

"We think that NSAIDs turn off unnecessary inflammation by blocking COX-2," Harris said. "Toning down this kind of dysfunctional, uncontrolled inflammation can block critical steps in tumor development, such as cell division, the growth of new blood vessels and the spread of the tumor to other areas of the body.

"I don't know what turns COX-2 on, or why it gets stuck in the on position. But it's bad news if it does get stuck, because it motivates all these steps to carcinogenesis."

Evidence is mounting that NSAIDs may also help in the treatment and prevention of other cancers.

"There's too much converging and compelling evidence to deny the effects of NSAIDs," Harris said. "Most malignant tumors, including colon, breast, prostate, and lung, appear to be inhibited by NSAID use."

These drugs may have side effects in a small percentage of people, said Harris, the most common of which is an upset or irritated stomach.

"If you're going to be a regular ibuprofen or aspirin user, tell your physician," he said, adding that he takes 200 mg of ibuprofen daily.

"There is no recommended guideline for when or if to start taking NSAIDs," he continued. "The evidence is compelling that these compounds do protect women who are 40 and older, but they need to be taken for a few years. It's the sustained inhibition of COX-2 that impedes the risk of carcinogenesis."

Harris has worked on the link between NSAIDs and breast cancer since the late 1980s. He and his colleagues also suspect that NSAIDs may have a role in treating or helping to prevent other cancers, such as colon, prostate and lung cancers.

This research was originally scheduled for presentation in April at the American Association of Cancer Research meeting in Toronto. That meeting was rescheduled due to the SARS epidemic.

Harris conducted this study with Ohio State researchers Rebecca Jackson and David Frid; Rowan Chlebowski, of the Harbor-UCLA Research and Education Institute; Garnet Anderson, Emily White and Anne McTiernan, Aimee Sparks and Rebecca Rodabaugh, all with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle; and Joao Ascenseo, of George Washington University in Washington, D.C.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ohio State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Ohio State University. "Ibuprofen, Aspirin May Reduce Woman's Risk Of Developing Breast Cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 July 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/07/030716090247.htm>.
Ohio State University. (2003, July 16). Ibuprofen, Aspirin May Reduce Woman's Risk Of Developing Breast Cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/07/030716090247.htm
Ohio State University. "Ibuprofen, Aspirin May Reduce Woman's Risk Of Developing Breast Cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/07/030716090247.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins