Athritis drug may reduce breast cancer risks, claims study

In collaboration with the Press Association

An initial study of drugs routinely prescribed for arthritis has suggested that they may reduce the risks of developing breast cancer.

The drugs, known as COX-2 inhibitors, include Celebrex and the former bestselling US treatment Vioxx, now withdrawn because of concerns about its possible connection to heart disease.

The study, which examined the health records of 649 healthy women and 323 with invasive breast cancer, found that women prescribed the drugs for at least two years had a 71 per cent reduced risk of breast cancer.

Researchers said that Celebrex had the greatest effect, claiming that the risk of breast cancer was reduced by 83 per cent.

They added that Ibuprofen and naproxen were also effective, reducing the risk of breast cancer by 63 per cent.

But case studies of this kind are not definitive evidence . There could be other factors at work, and more rigorous trials need to be done.

Cancer Research UK is currently funding work into the protective effects of COX-2 inhibiting drugs, particularly their role in preventing bowel cancer.