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Popular Blood Pressure Drugs Tied to Slight Rise in Cancer Risk

Posted Jun 13 2010 5:50pm

Use of a popular class of drugs for high blood pressure and heart failure is associated with a slight boost in cancer risk, a new review of data finds.

The drugs are known as angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs) and include medicines such as telmisartan (Micardis), losartan (Cozaar, Hyzaar), valsartan (Diovan) and candesartan (Atacand).

Overall, the researchers looked at trials involving over 223,000 patients. When they concentrated on five trials involving over 60,000 patients, in which cancer was a pre-specified endpoint, “patients assigned to these ARBs had about a 10 percent increase in cancer” relative to those not on the medications, said Dr. Ilke Sipahi, assistant professor of medicine at Case Western Reserve University, lead author of a report in the June 14 online edition of The Lancet Oncology.

The incidence of cancer in people taking an ARB was 7.2 percent, compared to a 6 percent incidence in those taking a placebo, the analysis found. The increase in solid tumors was concentrated in lung cancers, whose incidence was 25 percent higher in those taking an ARB, he said.

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