Use of warfarin associated with reduced incidence of cancer among older adults

Use of warfarin is associated with reduced incidence of cancer among older adults, according to an observational study in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Using Norwegian registries, researchers studied nearly 1.3 million adults aged 52 to 82, of whom 7% were prescribed warfarin. During a mean 6 years’ follow-up, the rate of incident cancer was higher among people not using warfarin than among warfarin users (10.6% vs. 9.4%). In warfarin users, incidence rates were lower for prostate, lung, gynecological, bladder, and brain cancers, among others. Greater risk reductions were observed in warfarin users with atrial fibrillation.

Treatment with warfarin can block “malignant traits of aggressive carcinoma cells” and boost the body’s ability to limit tumor cells’ growth, the authors note. They write: “Our data indicate that warfarin provides a possible cancer protection, a finding that may have important implications for choosing medications for patients who need anticoagulation.”


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