Pre-diagnostic NSAID use but not hormone therapy is associated with improved colorectal cancer survival in women

Br J Cancer. 2011 Mar 1;104(5):763-8. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6606041. Epub 2011 Feb 8.


Background: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and hormone therapy (HT) independently decrease the risk of colorectal cancer. However, their role in altering survival after a colorectal cancer diagnosis is not well established.

Methods: We examined the association between the use of these common medications before diagnosis and colorectal cancer survival among women in western Washington State diagnosed with incident colorectal cancer from 1997 to 2002. Cases were ascertained using the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results cancer registry; mortality follow-up was completed through linkages to the National Death Index. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

Results: We observed no overall association between colorectal cancer survival and pre-diagnostic NSAID use. However, when stratified by tumour sub-site, NSAID use was associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer mortality for women diagnosed with proximal (HR=0.55; 95% CI: 0.32-0.92), but not distal or rectal (HR=1.32; 95% CI: 0.83-2.10) tumours. The usage of HT was not associated with colorectal cancer survival overall or by tumour sub-site.

Conclusion: Usage of NSAIDs before diagnosis may be associated with improved colorectal cancer survival among women diagnosed with proximal tumours. The usage of HT does not appear to have a function in altering colorectal cancer mortality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Female
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Time Factors


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones