NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – In contrast to some recent research, a new study finds no evidence that aspirin or ibuprofen protects against benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
The findings, reported online March 19th in the British Journal of Urology International, conflict with an earlier study finding that enlarged prostates are less common in regular NSAIDs users.
BPH is thought to involve inflammation, which raises the possibility that NSAIDs could be protective, said Dr. Siobhan Sutcliffe, who led the new study.
In a 2006 study of nearly 2,500 men followed for a dozen years, those who used an NSAID every day were less likely to develop BPH.
In the new study, Dr. Sutcliffe’s team at another group: 4,771 men ages 55 to 74 who were part of a cancer-screening trial. At the start of that study, the men were asked about their use of aspirin and ibuprofen over the past year.
Over the next nine years, 31% developed BPH, but there was no evidence that the risk was any lower for regular NSAID users.
Dr. Sutcliffe, of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, says it’s not the end of the story for NSAIDs and the risk of prostate enlargement. “This is really still in the early stages of investigation,” she told Reuters Health.
One limit with the current study, Dr. Sutcliffe said, is that it looked only at NSAID use in the year before entering the trial. It’s possible that longer-term use has different effects.
And then there’s the 2006 study that did find a lower BPH risk among NSAID users. It’s not clear why the current study came to different conclusions, she said.
If future studies do find that NSAID users have a lower BPH risk, then what? For one, Dr. Sutcliffe said, it would suggest that low-dose aspirin — which many older adults already take for their heart — may have an added benefit.
BJU Int 2012.