Influence of Smoking, Body Mass Index, and Other Factors on the Preventive Effect of Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs on Colorectal Cancer Risk

Cancer Res. 2018 Aug 15;78(16):4790-4799. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-18-0326. Epub 2018 Jun 19.


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs' (NSAID) use has consistently been associated with lower risk of colorectal cancer; however, studies showed inconsistent results on which cohort of individuals may benefit most. We performed multivariable logistic regression analysis to systematically test for the interaction between regular use of NSAIDs and other lifestyle and dietary factors on colorectal cancer risk among 11,894 cases and 15,999 controls. Fixed-effects meta-analyses were used for stratified analyses across studies for each risk factor and to summarize the estimates from interactions. Regular use of any NSAID, aspirin, or nonaspirin NSAIDs was significantly associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer within almost all subgroups. However, smoking status and BMI were found to modify the NSAID-colorectal cancer association. Aspirin use was associated with a 29% lower colorectal cancer risk among never-smokers [odds ratios (OR) = 0.71; 95% confidence intervals (CI): 0.64-0.79], compared with 19% and 17% lower colorectal cancer risk among smokers of pack-years below median (OR, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.71-0.92) and above median (OR, 0.83; 95% CI, 0.74-0.94), respectively (P interaction = 0.048). The association between any NSAID use and colorectal cancer risk was also attenuated with increasing BMI (P interaction = 0.075). Collectively, these results suggest that obese individuals and heavy smokers are unlikely to benefit as much as other groups from the prophylactic effect of aspirin against colorectal cancer.Significance: Obesity and heavy smoking attenuate the benefit of aspirin use for colorectal cancer prevention. Cancer Res; 78(16); 4790-9. ©2018 AACR.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / adverse effects
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Aspirin / adverse effects
  • Body Mass Index
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Diet / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Aspirin

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