Can Aspirin Prevent Prostate Cancer?

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The studies regarding the association between aspirin and prostate cancer are confusing: for example, a previous study noted that it may be helpful to use aspirin to treat prostate cancer. Yet now a new study reports that use of aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be associated with an increased chance of discovering prostate cancer on prostate biopsy.

Men who take aspirin or who are considering its use may be puzzled by the conflicting research. Among the conflicting studies is a meta-analysis of eight clinical trials involving regular use of aspirin, in which the authors reported a substantial reduction in death for various cancers, including possibly prostate cancer. However, a Finnish study reported early in 2012 noted a 31% increased risk of prostate cancer overall in men who took NSAIDs.

Now there’s a new study, which was presented at the Canadian Urological Association annual meeting in Alberta. A total of 931 men who underwent prostate biopsy were evaluated, and the authors found that those who took aspirin and other NSAIDs had a twofold and threefold higher odds, respectively, of biopsy-detected prostate cancer than those who had not taken the drugs.

Specifically, men who took aspirin, but not those who took other NSAIDs, had a significant 64% increased odds of having high-grade prostate cancer found at prostate biopsy than did men who had not taken NSAIDs. Despite these findings, the authors still noted that aspirin and other NSAIDs may possess some preventive benefits because men whose prostate cancers were prevented might not have been recommended for prostate biopsy.

For men who are wondering about the risks and benefits of aspirin and NSAID use as it relates to prostate cancer, the findings of this latest study may present more questions than answers. Men who are currently taking aspirin or NSAIDs or who are considering their use should consult their healthcare providers with questions about the risks and benefits.

Read more in our Prostate Cancer Health Center.


Charnow JA. Aspirin use may increase prostate cancer risk. Renal & Urology News 2012 Jun 29