Inflammation and Ovarian Cancer

What role inflammation, and in turn the use of anti-inflammatory agents, has in changing the risk of ovarian cancer was the topic of an interesting presentation at the recent AACR meeting.

The role of inflammation to induce cancer growth or progression has been an ongoing theoretical debate. What role inflammation, and in turn the use of anti-inflammatory agents, has in changing the risk of ovarian cancer was the topic of an interesting presentation at the recent American Association of Cancer Research meeting. Investigators from the City of Hope looked into this issue by analyzing data collected from the California Teachers Study, which followed over 100,000 women who answered questionnaires from the late 90s to 2007.

Of this cohort there were about 400 cases of ovarian cancer diagnosed. When patients were stratified by users of anti-inflammatory agents regularly (defined in the study as once per week) versus non-users they reported that the use of aspirin, non steroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs), or acetaminophen did not exert a protective effect against ovarian cancer. Of more concern, the investigators also reported that the self-reported use of acetaminophen was asocial with a nearly two-fold risk of developing ovarian cancer, which was statistically significant.

These data should be considered provocative, but not conclusive. However, a strong take home point may be that there appeears to be little gain in the use of anti-inflammatory agents to help protect one from ovarian cancer. The association of an increased risk of ovarian cancer and daily acetaminophen use should be taken as tentative and warranting further investigation as the biological rationale for this association remains to be elucidated.

Reference:

Duan L et al. "Medication use and ovary cancer risk in the California Teachers Study" AACR2010; Abstract 855.