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High Blood Pressure Medication Could Reduce Risk of Colorectal Cancer

The same medications used to treat high blood pressure may also reduce a patient’s risk of colorectal cancer, according to research published in the American Heart Association’s journal, Hypertension.

Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor (ACE-i) or angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB) medications, commonly prescribed for high blood pressure, heart failure, or heart disease, inhibit a chemical that causes arteries to become narrow known as angiotensin.

“The roles of ACE inhibitors and ARBs on cancer development are controversial and, in some cases, study findings are conflicting,” explained study author Wai K. Leung, MD, in a press release. “Results of previous studies have been limited by several factors including a small number of patients and data only on short-term follow-ups. Our results provide new insights on a potential role of these medications for colorectal cancer prevention.”

The patients who took hypertension medications, including ACE-i and ARBs, saw a 22% lower risk of developing colorectal cancer in the following 3 years. More, patients aged 55 years or older and patients with a history of colon polyps saw a benefit from taking ACE-i and ARBs.

The analysis of the benefit to taking the hypertension medications was limited to the first 3 years after the negative baseline colonoscopy.

The retrospective study analyzed the health records of 197,897 patients in Hong Kong from 2005 to 2013. The analysis included a negative baseline colonoscopy for colorectal cancer.

“This is the first study to show the potential beneficial effects of ACE inhibitors and ARBs on colorectal cancer development, based on a large group of patients who were colorectal cancer-free at the beginning of the study,” Leung said in a press release.

The retrospective study looked back at whether patients taking these hypertension medications developed colorectal cancer. It is the first study of its kind to show a potential benefit on colorectal cancer development for patients taking hypertension medications.

Moving forward, the authors suggest verifying the results with a prospective randomized controlled study. This study would actively follow patients taking hypertension medications to analyze the potential benefits of these medications on colorectal cancer risk.

According to this research, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer worldwide, and stands as the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the world.

“While ACE-i and ARBs are taken by patients with high blood pressure, heart failure and kidney diseases, the reduction in colorectal cancer risk may be an additional factor for physicians to consider when choosing anti-hypertensive medications,” Leung said in a press release.

Reference:
Common hypertension medications may reduce colorectal cancer risk [news release]. Dallas, Texas. Published July 6, 2020. https://newsroom.heart.org/news/common-hypertension-medications-may-reduce-colorectal-cancer-risk. Accessed July 22, 2020.

This article originally appeared on CancerNetwork.
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