Women who have endometrial cancer may face an increased risk of death if they also take certain over-the-counter pain relievers, such as aspirin, Advil or Motrin, according to the findings of new research.
In a study published in the December 16 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers from Ohio State University Medical Center found that women who took nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and had type I endometrial cancer face a 66% increased risk of dying from that cancer.
Researchers examined the NSAID use of women who were diagnosed with endometrial cancer. More than 4,300 participants in the NRG Oncology/Gynecology Oncology Group 210 Study with endometrial carcinoma were included in the new study. The women completed a pre-surgical questionnaire focusing on history of regular pre-diagnostic NSAID use and endometrial cancer risk factors.
Information about cancer recurrences, vital status, and causes of death were obtained from medical records and cancer registries.
Among study participants, 550 endometrial carcinoma-specific deaths occurred, as well as 737 recurrences during an average of five years of follow-up.
Women who used NSAIDs, like aspirin, Aleve, Advil, Motrin and other popular pain medications, had a 66% increased risk of dying from endometrial carcinoma if they had type I cancers. Type I endometrial cancers are typically considered a less aggressive form of endometrial cancer.
Past research indicates NSAIDs may be associated with reductions in endometrial cancer risk. Yet few studies examined their use related to endometrial cancer patients.
Researchers concluded the risk of death was statistically significant for women who were former and current users of NSAIDs, such as Advil or Bayer. The strongest risk was among women who used NSAIDs for 10 years or longer, but had stopped using the medications before being diagnosed with endometrial cancer.
The study indicated NSAID use was not associated with recurrence of endometrial cancer or increased death rate among women with type II endometrial tumors.
Researchers said more evidence is needed to determine the link between the drugs and the increased mortality rate. However, chronic inflammation is involved in endometrial cancer and its progression. Researchers say the data suggests that inhibition of inflammation from using NSAIDs may play a role in the increased risk.
The researchers caution that their findings are not enough evidence to warrant recommending women refrain from taking NSAIDs. Women at risk for cardiovascular disease who regularly take NSAIDs at their doctor’s orders to prevent heart disease should consult with their doctor before they stop taking any medication.