Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Cancer Causes Control. 2011 May;22(5):803-10. doi: 10.1007/s10552-011-9751-6. Epub 2011 Mar 17.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug and aspirin use and the risk of head and neck cancer: a systematic review.

Author information

  • 1Centre for Public Health, School of Medicine Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, UK. jwilson57@qub.ac.uk



Use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) has been associated with a reduced risk of several cancers. This is thought to be through the inhibitory action on the cyclooxygenase (COX) enzyme, COX-2. Evidence for NSAIDs preventing head and neck cancer (HNC) is conflicting. We conducted a systematic literature review to investigate the association between NSAID/aspirin use and risk of head and neck cancer (HNC).


MEDLINE, EMBASE, PubMed, Cochrane Library, and Web of Science were systematically searched using terms for NSAIDs/aspirin, HNC, and observational/intervention study designs to identify studies published by December 2009.


Of 9,268 articles identified, two population-based prescribing database studies and three case-control studies met the selection criteria. The studies investigated different HNC sites. Only one study found a significant protective association of aspirin use with HNC risk (OR 0.75, 95% CI 0.58-0.96), and one showed a significantly increased risk of oral/oropharyngeal cancer with non-low-dose aspirin NSAID use (OR 3.5, 95% CI 1.8-6.7). Many of the studies identified lacked information on important confounding factors.


No definitive conclusion on the effect of NSAIDs/aspirin on HNC risk was possible. Aspirin may protect against HNC, although further robust large-scale studies are required to clarify any possible association.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Springer
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk