Risk of Lung Cancer Increases By Common Blood Pressure Medication, Shows Canadian Research

According to a new study conducted by researchers from McGill University in Canada, there is a link between common blood pressure medication and the risk of lung cancer. The study recently published in The British Medical Journal found a connection between lung cancer and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) – both used to treat hypertension.

Both ACEIs and ARBs lower blood pressure, targeting proteins, but also coming with side effects.

Common ACEIs are lisinopril, benazepril and enalapril, and common ARBs are azilsartan, candesartan and eprosartan mesylate.

The authors of the study have analyzed the data from the health records of 992,000 adults in the UK – the patients have received blood pressure drugs from 1995 to 2015. The analysis followed the adults for over six years, also considering other factors such as age, weight, sex, or whether they were smokers or not.

ACEIs Increase Risk of Lung Cancer by 14% Compared to ARBs

Analysis of the results shows that the people that used ACEIs had an increased risk of lung cancer by 14% compared to the people that used ARBs. The report also shows that the risk increases the longer patients take the medication. For example, the people that took the medication for 10 years had 31% increased risk, writes the team:

“In this large, population based study, the use of ACEIs was associated with an elevated risk of lung cancer overall, along with evidence of a duration-response relation. Although the magnitudes of the observed estimates are modest, these small relative effects could translate into large absolute numbers of patients at risk for lung cancer, so these findings need to be replicated in other settings.”

The team of scientists also added that ACEIs are not directly causing lung cancer and they still don’t understand the link between cancer and the treatment, but they also theorize that factors like diet, family history of lung cancer or socioeconomic differences are also to blame.

Researchers also explained that previous research points towards ACEIs causing an accumulation of chemicals that were found in lung cancer tissue.

“Additional studies, with long term follow-up, are needed to investigate the effects of these drugs on incidence of lung cancer,” concludes the team.

Rex Austin

Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere