Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Effect of aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs on colorectal adenomas: case-control study of subjects participating in the Nottingham faecal occult blood screening programme.

British Medical Journal 1993; 307 doi: (Published 31 July 1993) Cite this as: British Medical Journal 1993;307:285
  1. R F Logan,
  2. J Little,
  3. P G Hawtin,
  4. J D Hardcastle
  1. Department of Public Health Medicine and Epidemiology, University of Nottingham Medical School, Queen's Medical Centre.


    OBJECTIVE--To examine the relation between the use of aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and the presence of asymptomatic colorectal adenomas. DESIGN--Case-control study of subjects participating in a randomised controlled trial of faecal occult blood screening for colorectal cancer. Data on analgesics and other drugs were obtained from a questionnaire which was mainly concerned with diet and was administered by an interviewer. SETTING--Nottingham. SUBJECTS--147 patients with positive results in faecal occult blood tests who were found to have colorectal adenomas (cases), 153 age and sex matched control subjects with negative results in such tests (negative controls), and 176 control subjects with positive results in the tests who were found not to have colorectal adenomas (positive controls). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Relative risk of developing colorectal adenomas according to frequency and duration of use of analgesics. RESULTS--Cases reported taking less aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs than the negative controls, with the estimated relative risk for any use being 0.49 (95% confidence interval 0.3 to 0.8). The inverse association was less strong when cases were compared with the positive controls (0.66 (0.4 to 1.1)). The association was specific for aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs there being no association with paracetamol or other drugs. Prescribed use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for longer than five years was associated with the lowest risk (0.21 (0.1 to 0.8)), although the numbers reporting prolonged prescribed use were small. CONCLUSIONS--These findings support the hypothesis that aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug use protects against the development of colorectal neoplasia.