Fortuny J, Johnson CC, Bohlke K, Chow WH, Hart G, Kucera G, Mujumdar U, Ownby D, Wells K, Yood MU, Engel LS. Use of anti-inflammatory drugs and lower esophageal sphincter-relaxing drugs and risk of esophageal and gastric cancers. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2007 Oct;5(10):1154-1159.

BACKGROUND & AIMS: The incidence of esophageal and gastric cardia adenocarcinoma has increased in Western countries in recent decades for largely unknown reasons. We investigated whether use of LES-relaxing drugs was related to an increased risk of esophageal and gastric cardia adenocarcinoma, and whether use of NSAIDs was related to a reduced risk of esophageal and gastric cancers.

METHODS: We examined these associations by using administrative databases in a case-control study in 2 integrated health care delivery systems. Cases were incident esophageal adenocarcinomas (n = 163) and squamous cell carcinomas (n = 114) and gastric cardia (n = 176) and non-cardia adenocarcinomas (n = 320), diagnosed between 1980-2002 in one health system and between 1993-2002 in the other. Matched controls (n = 3996) were selected. Complete prescription information was available for the study period.

RESULTS: Prescription of corticosteroids was associated with a decreased risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma (odds ratio [OR], 0.6; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.4-0.9), esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (OR, 0.4; 95% CI, 0.2-0.6), and gastric non-cardia carcinoma (OR, 0.4, 95% CI, 0.3-0.6). Ever use of pharmacy-purchased aspirin was associated with 30%-60% decreased risks of the studied cancers. As a group, LES-relaxing drugs showed little evidence of association with increased risk of any esophageal or gastric cancer.

CONCLUSIONS: Corticosteroid and aspirin use were associated with significantly decreased risks of esophageal and gastric cancer. LES-relaxing drugs as a group did not affect these risks, although we had limited power to assess individual drugs. The possibility that corticosteroids and aspirin might reduce esophageal cancer risk warrants further consideration.

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