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J Intern Med. 2005 Aug;258(2):115-23.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for the prevention and treatment of cancer.

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Department of Internal Medicine A, Sapir Medical Center, Kfar Sava, Israel.


Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), both cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) selective and nonselective inhibitors, are amongst the most popular medications worldwide. Whilst their anti-inflammatory effect is well known, recent studies have demonstrated an unexpected effect in both the prevention and treatment of several types of cancer. The anticancerous effect of NSAIDs is believed to be mainly due to the inhibition of COX-2, which is overexpressed in many types of cancer and may play a major role in tumourigenesis. In this review, we will describe the possible mechanisms for NSAIDs anticancer effect and summarize the major clinical studies in cancer prevention and treatment. We will also discuss the effect of the recent reports of adverse cardiovascular effects on anticancer research of the selective COX-2 inhibitors.

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