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Long-term NSAID use linked to kidney cancer

Risk of renal cell cancer rises with use of non-aspirin NSAIDs

Louise Prime

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Long-term use of NSAIDs, except aspirin, is associated with an increased risk of developing renal cell cancer, shows research in this week’s Archives of Internal Medicine. No link was found between paracetamol use and this cancer.

Researchers from Harvard Medical School in the US analysed data from two large prospective cohort studies, the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study – covering 77,525 women and 49,403 men, followed up for 16 and 20 years respectively – to search for a relationship between renal cell cancer and people’s use of aspirin, other NSAIDs and paracetamol. They took account of other risk factors for renal cell cancer, including subjects’ body weight, smoking, physical activity level and history of hypertension.

No link was found between people’s use of either aspirin or paracetamol and renal cell cancer. However, there was a positive dose-response relationship between regular use of non-aspirin NSAIDs and risk of the cancer.

People who had regularly used non-aspirin NSAIDs for 4-10 years had a 36% higher risk of renal cell cancer than those who didn’t regularly take these medicines; and regular use for at least 10 years was associated with a near-tripling of renal cell cancer risk (relative risk 2.92).

The authors said: “In these large prospective studies of women and men, we found that use of non-aspirin NSAIDs was associated with an elevated risk of RCC, especially among those who took them for a long duration.

“Risks and benefits should be considered in deciding whether to use analgesics; if our findings are confirmed, an increased risk of RCC should also be considered.”

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