A new study from the Intermountain Medical Center Hearth Institute in Utah was presented this week at the 2014 American Heart Association Scientific Sessions and found that the use of a common blood pressure medication (calcium channel blockers) is not associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.
A previous study from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle indicated that women taking calcium channel blocker (CCB) medication were at increase risk of developing breast cancer. However, distinct results were found in the study from the team of researchers led by Jeffrey Anderson, MD and Uyen Lam, MD, from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute and the Internal Medicine Residency Program at the University of Utah School of Medicine.
The team of researchers analyzed two databases of more than 3,700 women (aged 50-70 years) with an entry criteria of no history of breast cancer and long-term use of calcium channel blocker medications to control blood pressure. This sample was then compared to a sample of women with no history of calcium channel blockers intake.
Using a database from a sample of patients recruited from the Intermountain Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory, the team of researchers found a 50% percent reduction in the risk of developing breast cancer for women taking calcium channel blockers. However, in their review of a general population medical records database, the researchers observed the odds of breast cancer to be 1.6 times higher when using CCB, which was a significant but smaller rate when compared to the one reported by the Seattle study.
With regard to these contrasting results, researchers from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute debated that other factors other than the medication may be accounting for breast cancer risk, such as selection biases.
“We found no robust data that calcium channel blocker medications increase a person’s risk of breast cancer,” Dr. Jeffery L. Anderson said in a news release. “Given the important role calcium channel blocker medications play in treating heart conditions, we think it’s premature to discontinue their use. At this point we recommend that patients continue taking these medications to treat their hypertension”, Dr. Anderson concluded.