Angiotensin receptor blockers are linked to small rise in risk of cancer

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 16 June 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c3229
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. 1London

    Researchers have called for further investigation of angiotensin receptor blockers after a large meta-analysis found an association with a “modest but significant” increase in the risk of cancer.

    The researchers, from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio, carried out a meta-analysis of all publicly available data from randomised trials of angiotensin receptor blockers, which are widely used to treat hypertension, heart failure, and diabetic nephropathy. They analysed data on cancer incidence in five trials involving more than 60 000 patients and cancer mortality in eight trials involving more than 90 000 patients.

    Their results, published in Lancet Oncology (doi:10.1016/S1470-2045(10)70106-6), show that the likelihood of a new diagnosis of cancer was higher in patients taking angiotensin receptor blockers than in patients in control groups (7.2% versus 6%; risk ratio 1.1 (95% confidence interval 1 to 1.2)). No significant excess in cancer mortality was found, although the authors point out that tumour growth followed by treatment failure and death is a slow process and would …

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