Do topical NSAIDs increase the risk of skin cancer? After all, NSAIDs dampen inflammation and immune suppression is a factor that can promote malignancy. The answer is no!
For, on the contrary, research focuses more on the potential of using NSAIDs in the fight against cancer. How can this be?
Think of the mechanism of NSAIDs. They’re non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, meaning they’re medications that reduce inflammation without being from the corticosteroid class.
NSAIDs indirectly inhibit prostaglandin synthesis by directly inhibiting COX enzymes. This provides anti-inflammatory effects and analgesia.
Prostaglandins play a starring role in situations such as fever.
In contrast, other things that are associated with increased malignancy risk have different ways of working.
For example, HIV impacts CD-4 T cells.
Meanwhile, chemotherapy agents have different mechanisms. For example, vincristine disruptively acts on microtubules.
Let’s not forget UV rays, which wreak havoc on the DNA process by inducing mutations.
These are just some of the villains of medicine. Thankfully, there are emerging medications that meet them in combat. But that’s a story for another day!