Can acetaminophen interfere with cancer treatment? Elizabeth Tracey reports


Acetaminophen, or Tylenol, is taken by many to relieve fever and for aches and pains. Now a new study seems to associate use of the drug with less beneficial outcomes in people being treated for cancer. William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, examines the findings.

Nelson: These were people who’d been treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors. For many of the patients if they had taken acetaminophen it did look like there was a worse outcome. In the two patient sets that they looked at one group did a little bit worse, the other didn’t do so much worse. They tried to chase after this by taking four healthy volunteers. They gave them a gram of acetaminophen every six hours. That would be like two extra strength Tylenol tablets. What they saw when they drew their blood and looked at the immune subsets is an increase in what are called regulatory T cells.  :33

Nelson says this study needs to be confirmed in larger and longer trials to see if the association holds up. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.