Acetaminophen and prostate cancer

Use of 30 tablets a month or more of acetaminophen for five or more years is associated with an estimated 38 percent lower risk of prostate cancer, according to a new study.

Acetaminophen, a commonly used pain-reliever, is not traditionally considered an NSAID but can have anti-inflammatory effects.

For the current study, researchers led by Eric Jacobs, American Cancer Society epidemiologist, examined the association between acetaminophen use and prostate cancer incidence among 78,485 men in the Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort. Information on acetaminophen use was obtained from a questionnaire completed at study enrollment in 1992 and updated using follow-up questionnaires in 1997 and every two years thereafter.


During follow-up from 1992 through 2007, there were 8,092 incident prostate cancer cases identified. Current regular use of acetaminophen (> 30 pills per month) for 5 years or more was associated with lower risk of overall prostate cancer as well as lower risk of aggressive prostate cancer. Current regular use of < 5 years duration was not associated with prostate cancer risk.

However, the researchers say it is too early to recommend men take the commonly-used pain reliever on a regular basis to prevent prostate cancer.

The study has been published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.

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