NMA: Nonprescription Medicines Academy

Antacids May Protect Against Squamous Cancers of the Larynx and Pharynx

August 22nd, 2013

Although gastric reflux appears to be a strong independent risk factor for squamous cancers of the larynx and pharynx, antacids may provide a chemopreventive effect, based on data from a population-based, case–control study.

The study included self-reported information about heartburn history and medication use among 631 patients with laryngopharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (LPSCC) and 1,234 control subjects in the greater Boston area. Participants were frequency-matched on age, gender, and town of residence.

After adjusting for potential confounders (age, gender, race, smoking, alcohol consumption, HPV16 seropositivity, education, and body mass index), subjects who reported a history of frequent heartburn and were neither heavy smokers nor heavy drinkers had a significantly elevated risk of LPSCCs (OR, 1.78; 95% CI, 1.00–3.16). Among subjects with a history of heartburn, there was an inverse association between antacid use and LPSCCs relative to subjects who never used heartburn medication (OR, 0.59; 95% CI, 0.38–0.93). The association remained consistent when analyzed by smoking/drinking status, HPV16 status, or primary tumor site.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2013;22(6):1-8.