Antihypertensive therapy and cancer risk

Dirk Felmeden, Gregory Lip

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


The aim of this article is to provide an overview of the available data linking antihypertensive drug therapy to cancer risk. In recent years, a number of mainly retrospective studies have reached different conclusions on the risk of cancer in patients with hypertension being treated with different antihypertensive drugs. At some point or another nearly all antihypertensive drugs have been suggested to increase the risk of cancer. Some studies have even found an association between hypertension itself and increased carcinogenesis. For calcium channel antagonists, beta-blockers and alpha-blockers, the available evidence seems to favour a neutral effect on cancer development and death rate. For ACE inhibitors, the overall data suggest a similar neutral effect on cancer or, possibly, a small protective effect. Perhaps the strongest evidence in favour of a link, although probably weak, between cancer and antihypertensive drugs is with the diuretics. Until further solid data are available from prospective clinical trials, we suggest that the management of hypertension should continue according to current treatment guidelines with little fear of any substantial cancer risk.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)727-739
Number of pages13
JournalDrug Safety
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2001


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