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J Natl Cancer Inst. 2008 Oct 15;100(20):1439-47. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djn324. Epub 2008 Oct 7.

Breast cancer and use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: a meta-analysis.

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  • 1Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain.



Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of mortality among women. The use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be associated with reduced risk for breast cancer, but results from these studies of the association have been inconsistent.


Studies that examined the association between risk of breast cancer and use of NSAIDs, including aspirin and ibuprofen, that were published between January 1, 1966, and July 1, 2008, were identified using Medline, EMBASE, and other databases. We performed meta-analysis by pooling studies according to the inverse of their variances and performed separate analyses of studies pooled according to aspirin use and ibuprofen use. We evaluated publication bias and study quality.


A total of 38 studies (16 case-control studies, 18 cohort studies, 3 case-control studies nested in well-defined cohorts, and 1 clinical trial) that included 2 788 715 subjects were identified. The results of these studies suggest that overall, NSAID use was associated with reduced risk for breast cancer (relative risk [RR] = 0.88, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.84 to 0.93). Specific analyses for aspirin (RR = 0.87, 95% CI = 0.82 to 0.92) and ibuprofen (RR = 0.79, 95% CI = 0.64 to 0.97) yielded similar results.


This meta-analysis provides evidence that NSAID use is associated with reduced risk for breast cancer. Future research should include careful evaluation of the biologic mechanisms involved in the relationship between NSAIDs and breast cancer.

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