A new study from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Murray, Utah shows that women taking medication to control their blood pressure (calcium channel blockers) are not at increased risk of developing breast cancer. The research outcomes were presented in Chicago at the 2014 American Heart Association Scientific on November 19.
The research team assessed records of more than 3,700 women without any history of breast cancer and who had long-term usages of calcium channel blocker drugs that help to control their blood pressure. The team found a minimal increase regarding risks of breast cancer in a single study and a 50 percent reduced risk in a second one, which led researchers to recommend the continued use of these medications since they are crucial to prevent strokes and heart attacks.
Jeffery Anderson, MD, investigator at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute and cardiologist, said in a press release: “We found no robust data that calcium channel blocker medications increase a person’s risk of breast cancer. 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.”
Calcium channel blockers are used to prevent calcium from entering both the cells in the heart and the blood vessels walls; as a consequence, a lower blood pressure is assured.
The Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute study is a response toa previous assessment by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle that suggests that the risk of breast cancer was 2.5 times higher in women who were taking these blocker drugs to control their blood pressure.
The Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute did not corroborate those results: more than 3,700 women with ages between 50 and 70, no history of breast cancer and registered in 2 different databases, were evaluated. Women taking blood pressure medications were studied and compared to women who were not taking those drugs. It was found that women taking calcium channel blockers were at a 1.6 higher risk of developing breast cancer; this is a significant value but it is much smaller than the 2.5 increased risk reported by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. However, through data collected in the Intermountain Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory, there was a 50 percent reduction in the risk of having breast cancer in women taking calcium channel blockers. These contradictory results suggest that the problem directly linked to these type of drugs.
Further studies are required to understand the connection between calcium channel blockers and the risk of breast cancer. However, so far, the use of this type of drugs is not discouraged.