Randall Harris, M.D., Ph.D., professor and director of the Center of Molecular Epidemiology in the College of Medicine and School of Public Health at The Ohio State University Medical Center in Columbus and his co-workers looked at the use of selective COX-2 inhibitors such as Vioxx and Celebrex between 1999 and 2004 and the incidence of breast cancer. They compared 323 breast cancer cases to 649 healthy controls and found a risk reduction of about 71 percent with the use of selective COX-2 blockers.
Harris was not surprised. "This was not a surprising result showing selective COX-2 inhibitors would have a significant effect in reducing the incidence of breast cancer," he said.
A number of studies have shown that people who regularly take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin and ibuprofen to treat conditions like arthritis, have lower rates of colorectal polyps, colorectal cancer, breast cancer and many other cancers. NSAIDs exert anti-inflammatory effects by blocking COX, or cyclooxygenase enzymes, which are produced by the body when there is inflammation and are also produced by precancerous tissues.
"The combined results of 20 human studies of aspirin and ibuprofen reflect an approximate 30 percent reduction in the risk for breast cancer, and animal studies have shown a profound effect by COX-2 blockers against a variety of cancers," he said.
Harris said that these results have implications for chemoprevention of breast cancer and other cancers. This particular study is a sub-study of four types of cancer, including prostate, lung and colon cancer. The researchers will release data at the meeting showing results consistent with the breast cancer findings.
"There's a lot of interest in the use of these compounds in therapy and prevention," Harris noted. "It will be important for investigators to look at these compounds i
Source:American Association for Cancer Research