Aspirin may hamper prostate cancer detection

September 8th, 2008 - 1:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Sep 8 (IANS) Regular use of nonsteroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin and ibuprofen is likely to hamper the detection of prostate cancer. Researchers suspect that inflammation associated with prostate cancer may occur through a variety of mechanisms such as infection, hormonal changes, physical trauma, urine reflux, and dietary habits.

Studies have shown that cyclooxygenase (COX) enzymes, which are inhibited by NSAIDs, play an important role in inflammation. In addition, several reviews have indicated that NSAID use is associated with a lower incidence of prostate cancer.

However, there is little data on the precise relationship between NSAID use and levels of PSA, a commonly measured marker used in prostate cancer screening.

For their study, University of Rochester Medical Centre researchers compared blood prostate specific antigen (PSA), a biomarker, levels and NSAID and acetaminophen consumption in a large group of men in the US.

The investigators determined PSA levels in 1,319 men over the age of 40 years who participated in the 2001-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), conducted by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

Individuals who used NSAIDs regularly had PSA levels that were approximately 10 percent lower compared to men who did not take these drugs.

Investigators said their study suggests that regular NSAID consumption may reduce serum PSA levels. What impact this may have on the development of prostate cancer, irrespective of PSA, is unclear.

“Given the widespread consumption of NSAIDs and the regular use of PSA for the assessment of prostate cancer risk, the potential implications of our findings may be substantial and warrant further investigation,” the study authors wrote.

These findings will appear in the October edition of CANCER, a journal of the American Cancer Society.

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