Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have been associated with adverse cardiovascular (CV) outcomes in cancer prevention and other clinical trials. A recent meta-analysis suggested that baseline CV risk is associated with NSAID-associated adverse CV events. We evaluated the effect of baseline CV risk on adverse CV events in a phase III trial of difluoromethylornithine (DFMO) plus the NSAID sulindac versus placebo in preventing colorectal adenomas. Trial data were analyzed to determine baseline CV risk. CV toxicity outcomes were then assessed overall and excluding high CV-risk patients. Baseline CV risk scores were evenly distributed within our overall trial population of 184 placebo (low risk: 27%; moderate risk: 34%; high risk: 39%) and 191 DFMO-sulindac (low risk: 30%; moderate risk: 29%; high risk: 41%) patients. In patients with a high baseline CV risk, the number of adverse CV events was greater among DFMO-sulindac (n=9) than placebo (n=3) patients. Excluding patients with a high baseline CV risk, the numbers of adverse CV events were similar in the DFMO-sulindac (n=7) and placebo (n=6) arms. A high CV risk score at baseline may confer an increased risk of CV events associated with treatment with DFMO-sulindac, and a low baseline score may not increase this risk. These results have implications for future NSAID-based cancer prevention clinical trials.
Keywords: cancer prevention clinical trials, cardiovascular risk, cardiovascular events, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, NSAIDs, sulindac