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Celebrex: Lower Breast Cancer Risk?

But Heart Safety Questions Remain

71% Reduced Breast Cancer Risk continued...

Researcher Randal Harris, MD, PhD, and colleagues at Ohio State University adjusted for these breast cancer risk factors in their study and concluded that women who used standard doses of either Vioxx or Celebrex every day for two years had a 71% reduction in breast cancer risk.

Taking two or more pills a week of regular aspirin (325 milligrams) had about a 50% reduction in risk, and the risk reduction for users of ibuprofen (such as Motrin or Advil) or naproxen (such Aleve or Naprosyn) was 63%. Baby aspirin (81 milligrams) and Tylenol (a common pain reliever that is not an NSAID) did not show any effect on risk.

The findings are published in the latest issue of the journal BMC Cancer.

More Study Needed

Given the cardiovascular concerns about Cox-2 inhibitors, Harris says much more research is needed before they can be recommended for cancer prevention.

He adds that newer and safer formulations of the current drugs may be on the horizon. Studies could also help determine if lower doses of the drugs than are currently used for pain relief can provide the cancer-prevention benefits without the risks.

"We need to keep looking to tailor the doses and tailor the compounds," he tells WebMD. "We know that they are effective. We just have to balance the side effects and adverse events."

American Cancer Society spokeswoman Debbie Saslow, PhD, tells WebMD that the studies examining the role of Cox-2 inhibitors and other NSAIDs for breast cancer prevention are inconclusive.

Saslow is director of breast and gynecological cancers for the American Cancer Society.

"The data are not yet strong enough to make any recommendations about using these drugs to prevent breast cancer or any cancer," she says. "There are too many unanswered questions about safety."

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