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STUDY: Look towards natural substances to help pain
JOURNAL: Int J Cancer 2003;106:784-788.
AUTHORS: Dr. James R. Cerhan
ABSTRACT: Use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including aspirin, appears to be associated with a heightened risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), according to a study of more than 27,000 postmenopausal women.
COMMENTARY: In the September 20th issue of the International Journal of Cancer, Dr. James R. Cerhan of the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, and colleagues note that research in patients with rheumatoid arthritis suggest that NSAIDs are protective against colon cancer but may raise the risk of NHL.
To investigate, the team prospectively studied a cohort of 27,290 postmenopausal women participating in the Iowa Women's Health Study, using data from a questionnaire and a state cancer registry to calculate risks.
Over a follow-up period of 7 years, a total of 131 case of NHL were identified.
Compared with women who did not use NSAIDs at all, the NHL risk ratio for those who used aspirin exclusively was 1.71. For those who used non-aspirin NSAIDs exclusively, the risk ratio was 2.39. The corresponding figure for women who used both types of drugs was 1.97.
A diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis carried a risk ratio of 1.75, but there was no significant relationship with osteoarthritis (risk ratio 1.06). Furthermore, the association of NSAIDs use and NHL was independent of a history of rheumatoid arthritis.
Dr. Cerhan observed that "our findings are provocative as they do raise safety concerns about regular use of these agents.