Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug use in the prevention and treatment of squamous cell carcinoma

Dermatol Surg. 2004 Oct;30(10):1335-42. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4725.2004.30407.x.


Background: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are widely reported to inhibit carcinogenesis.

Objective: The objective was to review the literature on nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in the prevention and treatment of cancer as it pertains to cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma.

Methods: We searched MEDLINE and performed a review of all published data on nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and cutaneous oncogenesis.

Results: In vitro and animal data strongly suggest a role for cyclooxygenase-2 in the formation of actinic keratoses and squamous cell carcinomas. Further observational studies and clinical trials are needed to assess their putative role in chemoprevention.

Conclusions: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have activity against squamous cell carcinomas in vitro and in animal models, as well as in precursor lesions of squamous cell carcinomas. Human trials using selective cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors are currently in progress and should offer exciting information regarding the chemopreventative function of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / prevention & control*
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases / metabolism
  • Skin Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Skin Neoplasms / prevention & control*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Isoenzymes
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • PTGS2 protein, human
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases