NSAIDs are widely used to alleviate the symptoms of OA. It remains controversial as to what effects these agents have on the progression of OA. In vitro studies showed several types of NSAIDs (e.g., sodium salicylate, indomethacin) inhibited the synthesis of cartilage matrix component, but some types of NSAIDs (e.g., aceclofenac, meloxicam, nimesulide) increased the matrix component synthesis and protected the chondrocytes against apoptosis, while others (e.g., piroxicam) had no effects. Studies in animal models verified that NSAIDs had favourable or detrimental action on OA progression, even the same NSAID (e.g., naproxen, tiaprofenic acid) had reverse effects on articular cartilage in different studies. Preliminary clinical trials revealed some NSAIDs such as indomethacin had a negative influence on joint structure, other NSAIDs such as diclofenac and naproxen had no acceleration of radiographic damage to OA within 2-years of treatment. So far, there are no convincing data to show the widely used NSAIDs and recommended selective COX-2 inhibitor have favourable effects on cartilage. Therefore, it is necessary and valuable to clarify the effects of these NSAIDs on cartilage in patients with OA using validated non-invasive methods such as MRI.