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Another potential ‘bomb’ exploded recently, with the online publication of a study which showed that common therapies for controlling blood pressure may have an effect on the risk for breast cancer [1]. The study, which was observational and retrospective, was based on interviews with breast cancer patients and comparable healthy controls in Seattle, USA. Women were asked whether they used antihypertensive medications and, if they did, what type, when, and for how long. The cohort included 880 women with invasive ductal breast cancer, 1027 women with invasive lobular breast cancer, and 856 women with no cancer who served as controls. Results showed that those currently taking calcium-channel blockers for more than 10 years had about 2.5 times the risk for breast cancer (both ductal and lobular) compared to healthy women, whereas the use of angiotensin II antagonists was associated with a non-significant decrease in risk, and diuretics or beta-blockers were neutral in this respect. Shorter periods of use were not associated with a change in breast cancer risk.


  • Amos Pines
    Department of Medicine T, Ichilov Hospital, Tel-Aviv, Israel


  1. Li CI, Daling JR, Tang MT, et al. Use of antihypertensive medications and breast cancer risk among women aged 55 to 74 years. JAMA Intern Med 2013 August 5. Epub ahead of print
  2. Largent JA, Bernstein L, Horn-Ross PL, et al. Hypertension, antihypertensive medication use, and breast cancer risk in the California Teachers Study cohort. Cancer Causes Control 2010;21:1615-24.
  3. Meier CR, Derby LE, Jick SS, Jick H. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, and breast cancer. Arch Intern Med 2000;160:349-53.
  4. Li CI, Malone KE, Weiss NS, et al. Relation between use of antihypertensive medications and risk of breast carcinoma among women ages 65-79 years. Cancer 2003;98:1504-13.
  5. Coogan PF. Calcium-channel blockers and breast cancer. A hypothesis revived. JAMA Intern Med 2013 August 5. Epub ahead of print.
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