Beyond Cardiovascular Benefits – NSAID and Statin Reduce the Cancer Risk with PPI-Treated Barrett’s Esophagus

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It is well known that NSAID (Advil, Motrin and Aspirin) and statin (Zocor, Mevacor, Lipitor, Crestor, Pravachol and Lescol) offer cardiovascular benefits. However, a new study published in the February issue of Gastroenterology suggested that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and statins can also cut the risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma by half in patients taking proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) for Barrett’s esophagus.

Using the Department of Veterans Affairs database that included 116 case patients and 696 controls with Barrett’s Esophagus, the researchers analyzed the incidence of PPI, NSAID/aspirin and statin prescriptions and the incidents of cancer among patients who have Barrett’s esophagus.

Using statistical analysis, the researchers found that individuals who filled prescriptions for NSAID/aspirin and statin were 36% and 45% less likely to have esophageal cancer than were those who did not fill such prescriptions. Furthermore, as the duration of statin use increased, the risk of esophageal cancer continued to fall.

Since this is only an observational study, the investigators suggested further prospective, head-to-head comparison studies are required to confirm the cancer risk reduction benefits of NSAID and statin. Also, since NSAID such as aspirin might be associated with bleeding risk, patients are advice to consult their physicians before starting the NSAIDs.

Gastroenterology. Published online February 25, 2010.

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