These findings, by Thomas L. Vaughan, M.D., M.P.H., and colleagues at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, will appear Nov. 8 in the online edition of The Lancet Oncology. Researchers at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle and The Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston also collaborated on the study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health.
In the largest and longest observational study of its kind, lead author Vaughan and colleagues studied the impact of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, on changes in the lining of the esophagus that signal the advancement toward cancer.
"We found that people with Barrett's esophagus who regularly took NSAIDs like aspirin or ibuprofen did not go on to get cancer as frequently or as soon as people who did not take these medications regularly," said Vaughan, head of the Epidemiology Program and member of the Hutchinson Center's Public Health Sciences Division. "Current users of NSAIDs had one-third the risk of getting esophageal adenocarcinoma as compared to never users," he said.
Five years after joining the study, the incidence of esophageal cancer was 14.4 percent among never users, 9.7 percent among former users (those who had used NSAIDs regularly for a year or more prior to joining the study) and 6.6 percent among current users (those who took NSAIDs at least once a week).
Because this was a long-term observational study and not a clinical trial, the investigators cannot recommend NSAIDs for people with Barrett's esophagus and they advise anyone who considers taking these medications for this condition should do so under the directi
Contact: Dean Forbes
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center