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Long-Term Use of Some Hypertension Drugs Increases Risk of Breast Cancer in Postmenopausal Women

CCBs in particular are linked with significantly increased risk (August 5)

Older women who take certain types of medication to treat high blood pressure may be putting themselves at greater risk for developing breast cancer, according to a new study by researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center.

The study is the first to observe that long-term use of calcium-channel blockers (CCBs), in particular, are associated with breast cancer risk. The team’s findings were published online in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Despite widespread and often long-term use of antihypertensive drugs, studies and evidence linking antihypertensives to breast cancer have been sparse and inconsistent.

The purpose of the Hutchinson study was to assess the relationship between the major classes of antihypertensive drugs and the risk of the two most common histological types of breast cancers in the U.S.: invasive ductal carcinomas, which represent approximately 70% of all breast cancers; and invasive lobular carcinomas, which represent an estimated 20%.

The study’s key finding was that women currently taking CCBs who have used them for 10 years or longer had an approximately two and a half times higher risk of both invasive ductal and invasive lobular cancers compared with those who never used such calcium-channel blockers and compared to users of other forms of antihypertensives. In contrast, the study found that use of other classes of antihypertensive drugs, including diuretics, beta blockers and angiotensin-receptor blockers, were not associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, even when used long-term.

Source: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center; August 5, 2013.

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