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J Thorac Oncol. 2012 Oct;7(10):1503-12.

Prediagnostic nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug use and lung cancer survival in the VITAL study.

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  • 1Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Cancer Prevention Program, Seattle, WA, USA. theodore.brasky@osumc.edu



Inflammation is important for lung oncogenesis. Use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) has been shown to improve colorectal cancer survival. However, few studies have examined the association in lung cancer patients.


The VITamins And Lifestyle (VITAL) cohort includes Washington State residents, aged 50 to 76 years, who completed a baseline questionnaire between 2000 and 2002. Participants responded on the frequency and duration of use of individual NSAIDs in the previous 10 years. Subjects of this study were 785 members of the cohort, who were identified with incident lung cancer from baseline through 2007 through linkage to a population-based cancer registry. Participants were followed for lung cancer death through linkage to state records of death through 2009. Adjusted proportional hazards models estimated hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for the association between NSAIDs and lung cancer death.


Five hundred and twenty-two participants (66%) died from lung cancer. Relative to nonuse, high (≥ 4 days/week and ≥ 4 years) prediagnostic use of regular-strength or low-dose aspirin (HR 0.99, 95% CI: 0.74-1.33 and HR 0.89, 95% CI: 0.67-1.17, respectively) or total nonaspirin NSAIDs (HR 1.20, 95% CI: 0.79-1.83) did not reduce lung cancer death. However, high use of ibuprofen was associated with a 62% increased risk of lung cancer death (HR 1.62, 95% CI: 1.01-2.58).


Long-term, prediagnostic NSAID use does not improve lung cancer survival overall. Use of ibuprofen may reduce survival from lung cancer. Our results underscore the need for further study of the mechanisms of action for individual NSAIDs with regard to cancer survival.

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