Study: No Link Between Antihypertensive Medications and Cancer Risk

There is no evidence that blood pressure lowering drugs increase the risk of cancer, according to a major new study.

There is no evidence that blood pressure lowering drugs increase the risk of cancer, according to a major new study.

The research, conducted at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, was presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress (ESC) 2020 on August 31.

A potential link between blood pressure-lowering drugs and cancer has been debated for more than 40 years, an ESC news release said.1 However, the evidence for an increased or decreased risk of cancer with the use of antihypertensive medication has been inconsistent and conflicting.

The new research is the largest study on cancer outcomes in participants of randomized trials investigating antihypertensive medication—encompassing approximately 260,000 people in 31 trials.

Five antihypertensive drug classes were investigated separately: angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs), beta blockers, calcium channel blockers (CCBs), and diuretics.

Over an average of 4 years, there were around 15,000 new diagnoses of cancer. The investigators reported no evidence that the use of any antihypertensive drug class increased the risk of cancer. And the finding was consistent regardless of age, gender, body size, smoking status, and previous antihypertensive medication use.

“Our results should reassure the public about the safety of antihypertensive drugs with respect to cancer, which is of paramount importance given their proven benefit for protecting against heart attacks and strokes,” said Emma Copland, an epidemiologist at the University of Oxford,

The investigators also reported no evidence that any type of antihypertensive medication had an effect on the probability of developing breast, colorectal, lung, prostate, or skin cancer.

Each drug class was compared against all other control groups, including placebo, standard treatment, and other drug classes.

When participants were followed throughout the course of each trial, there was no indication that the risk of cancer increased with longer duration of use of these treatments, according to the investigators


1. Large study finds no link between blood pressure medication and cancer. News release. European Society of Cardiology; August 31, 2020. Accessed September 3, 2020.