Britton Trabert and Dr. Nicolas Wentzensen of the National Cancer Institute's Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics and colleagues analyzed data pooled from 12 large epidemiological studies to investigate whether women who used aspirin, non-aspirin NSAIDs or acetaminophen have a lower risk of ovarian cancer. The 12 studies -- nine from the United States -- were part of the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium.
The researchers evaluated the benefit of the drugs in nearly 8,000 women with ovarian cancer and close to 12,000 women who did not have the disease.
Among study participants who reported whether they used aspirin regularly 18 percent used aspirin, 24 percent used non-aspirin NSAIDs and 16 percent used acetaminophen.
The study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, found study participants who reported daily aspirin use had a 20 percent lower risk of ovarian cancer than those who used aspirin less than once per week. For non-aspirin NSAIDs, the scientists observed a 10 percent lower ovarian cancer risk among women who used NSAIDs at least once per week compared with those who used NSAIDs less frequently. However, this finding did not fall in a range that was significant statistically.
In addition, the study found the use of acetaminophen, which is not an anti-inflammatory agent, was not associated with reduced ovarian cancer risk.
"However intriguing our results are, they should not influence current clinical practice," Trabert said in a statement.
Trabert added the adverse side effects of daily aspirin use include upper gastrointestinal bleeding and hemorrhagic stroke; therefore, a daily aspirin regimen should only be undertaken with a doctor's approval.