In a new study from the University of Virginia, researchers found common blood pressure drugs may improve survival for patients with colorectal cancer.
After reviewing outcomes of almost 14,000 patients with colorectal cancer, researchers found that ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers and thiazide diuretics were all associated with decreased mortality.
They also found that patients who took their blood pressure drugs consistently were less likely to die from their cancer.
They emphasize that more research is needed to validate the connection between blood pressure drugs and better outcomes.
But they are hopeful that the drugs could offer a new, low-cost way to improve care for patients with stage I to III colorectal cancer.
Colorectal cancer is the third-most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States.
The American Cancer Society estimates that this year there will be 104,270 new cases of colon cancer and 45,230 cases of rectal cancer in the U.S.
A troubling rise in the number of younger people developing colorectal cancer recently prompted the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force to reduce the recommended age for first screening for the disease to 45 from 50.
High blood pressure is common among patients with colorectal cancer, but there has been little research into the potential effect of blood pressure drugs on patients’ outcomes.
In the study, the team used the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End-Results Medicare database to review outcomes of 13,982 patients ages 65 and older who were diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
They found that ACE inhibitors and thiazide diuretics appeared to provide the most significant benefit to patient survival and outcomes, while there did not appear to be similar benefits from calcium-channel blockers.
Patients’ adherence to their blood pressure regimen also appears important. The results showed a link between increased adherence to [blood pressure] medications and reduced mortality.
This increment of survival may be associated with a higher dose exposure, as a long-term/high-dose exposure to ACE-Is/ARBs was linked to a decreased incidence of colon cancer mortality.
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The study is published in Cancer Medicine. One author of the study is Rajesh Balkrishnan.
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