Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs)are the second most common skin cancer occurring in white skinned populations. They cause significant morbidity as they can invade local structures (often the nose or ears) and they also have the potential to metastasize although most are successfully treated before any spread occurs. They are also very expensive cancers to treat because they are so common, posing a significant burden on health care budgets. NSAIDS have been shown to be protective for other cancers (e.g. colorectal and oesophageal cancer). This prompted use to evaluate all of the available evidence on NSAIDs use and SCC by conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis of the association.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Response: We identified 9 studies that had examined the association and the pooled findings of those studies showed that use of non-aspirin NSAIDs and all NSAIDS combined was associated with a reduced risk of SCC (15% and 18% respectively). There was also a reduced risk associated with aspirin use, although it was not statistically significant. The protective effect was strongest for populations at high risk of developing SCC (i.e. people with many actinic keratoses (sun spots) and those with a past history of skin cancer).
Sun exposure is the strongest risk factor for SCC and so reducing sun exposure is the best means to prevent these skin cancers, however NSAIDs may have potential as a supplementary skin cancer control measure.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: We believe that NSAIDS have potential as part of a skin cancer-prevention strategy; however more information on dosages and duration of use of NSAIDS is required before strong and specific recommendations on skin cancer prevention can be made.
These findings are now the subject of further research at the QIMR Berghofer.