Study links acetaminophen to lower prostate cancer risk

A new study from American Cancer Society researchers finds use of 30 tablets a month or more of acetaminophen for five or more years was associated with an estimated 38% lower risk of prostate cancer. The study appears in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention and is one of only two studies of prostate cancer to date that have examined the association with acetaminophen use that was both long-term and regular.

Use of aspirin and other nonsteroidal (NSAIDs), particularly long-term use, has been associated with modestly reduced risk of prostate cancer in some previous . Acetaminophen, a commonly used pain-reliever, is not traditionally considered an NSAID but can have anti-inflammatory effects.

For the current study, researchers led by Eric Jacobs, Ph.D., American Cancer Society , examined the association between acetaminophen use and prostate cancer incidence among 78,485 men in the Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort. Information on acetaminophen use was obtained from a questionnaire completed at study enrollment in 1992 and updated using follow-up questionnaires in 1997 and every two years thereafter.

During follow-up from 1992 through 2007, there were 8,092 incident prostate cancer cases identified. Current regular use of acetaminophen (> 30 pills per month) for 5 years or more was associated with lower risk of overall prostate cancer (RR = 0.62, 95% CI 0.44-0.87) as well as lower risk of aggressive prostate cancer (RR = 0.49, 95% CI 0.27-0.88). Current regular use of < 5 years duration was not associated with prostate cancer risk.

"While the results of this observational study suggest that long-term regular acetaminophen use may be associated with lower , our findings require replication by other studies, and do not justify use of acetaminophen to prevent prostate cancer. Acetaminophen is considered relatively safe when used at recommended doses but unintentional acetaminophen overdose is an important cause of ." said Dr. Jacobs. "Still, results of this study could lead to further research on acetaminophen that might provide biological insights about the process of development and how this process could be slowed."

More information: "A Large Cohort Study of Long-term Acetaminophen Use and Prostate Cancer Incidence," Eric J Jacobs, Christina C Newton, Victoria L Stevens, and Susan M Gapstur, Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev May 17, 2011 cebp.0210.2011; Published OnlineFirst May 17, 2011; doi:10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-11-0210

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Men who take aspirin have significantly lower PSA levels

Nov 16, 2008

The use of aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is significantly associated with lower PSA levels, especially among men with prostate cancer, say researchers at Vanderbilt University.

Aspirin may lower the risk of pancreatic cancer

Apr 04, 2011

The use of aspirin at least once per month is associated with a significant decrease in pancreatic cancer risk, according to results of a large case-control study presented at the AACR 102nd Annual Meeting 2011, held here ...

Recommended for you

Putting the brakes on cancer

Dec 19, 2014

A study led by the University of Dundee, in collaboration with researchers at our University, has uncovered an important role played by a tumour suppressor gene, helping scientists to better understand how ...

Peanut component linked to cancer spread

Dec 19, 2014

Scientists at the University of Liverpool have found that a component of peanuts could encourage the spread and survival of cancer cells in the body.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.