(HealthDay News) — For postmenopausal Caucasian women, aspirin use is associated with a significantly reduced risk of melanoma, according to a study published online March 11 in Cancer.

In an effort to assess the correlation between nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) use and cutaneous melanoma risk, Christina A. Gamba, of the Stanford University School of Medicine and Cancer Institute in California, and colleagues used data for 59,806 postmenopausal Caucasian women aged 50 to 79 years from the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study.

During a median follow-up of 12 years, the researchers identified 548 confirmed incident melanomas. Compared with nonusers, aspirin users had a significantly reduced risk of melanoma (hazard ratio, 0.79). For each categorical increase in duration of aspirin use (less than one year; one to four years; and five or more years) the risk of melanoma was 11 percent lower (hazard ratio for five or more years of use, 0.70). There was no correlation for non-aspirin NSAID or acetaminophen use with melanoma.

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“In conclusion, the current results indicate that postmenopausal Caucasian women who used aspirin had a significantly lower risk of melanoma, and increased duration of use was associated with greater protection against melanoma,” the authors write. “These findings suggest that aspirin may have a chemopreventive effect against the development of melanoma, and further clinical investigation is warranted.”

One author disclosed financial ties to Genentech.

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