Friday, May 6, 2011

Blood Pressure Medications Alter Risk For Breast Cancer Recurrence

It is clear from the numerous research studies we have discussed in the last year or two that a wide variety of lifestyle factors impact or alter breast cancer risk, risk for breast cancer recurrence and breast cancer mortality.  One aspect of lifestyle factors that appears to be under-studied is the impact of other medications on outcomes in breast cancer patients.

One of the most common categories of medications used today are blood pressure medications.  A new breast cancer research study published in the journal Breast Cancer Research & Treatment explored the impact of two common types of blood pressure medications, beta blockers and ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitors, on breast cancer outcomes.  The study investigators collected information from breast cancer patients who took part in the Life After Cancer Epidemiology (LACE) study regarding their use of these blood pressure medications and the incidence of breast cancer recurrence and mortality.  The researchers reported:

Breast Cancer Recurrence...
  • Use of ACE inhibitors increased the risk for breast cancer recurrence by about 56%
  • Use of beta blockers modestly reduced the risk for breast cancer recurrence, but this was not statistically significant.
  • The combined use of ACE inhibitors and beta blockers showed an intermediate risk for breast cancer recurrence, suggesting that beta blockers might suppress the negative impact of ACE inhibitors on breast cancer recurrence.
Overall & Breast Cancer-Specific Mortality...
  • Neither ACE inhibitors nor beta blockers individually had any effect on breast cancer-specific mortality or overall mortality.
  • Combined use of beta blockers and ACE inhibitors was linked with a 94% increased risk for all-cause mortality.
These are important research findings for many breast cancer patients.   With the rise in the prevalence of chronic conditions like obesity and type 2 diabetes, we are seeing an increase in the number of people with high blood pressure and thus an increase in the number of people taking ACE inhibitors and beta blockers.  This new breast cancer study suggests that these two blood pressure medications impact a breast cancer patient's risk for breast cancer recurrence differently, with the ACE inhibitors increasing risk and the beta blockers decreasing risk and blunting the effect of the ACE inhibitors.  While this was a small study and larger studies to clarify the impact of these medications are underway, the results of this study suggest that breast cancer patients taking blood pressure medication might want to discuss their choice of medications with their physician.

To learn about other diet and lifestyle choices to reduce your breast cancer risk, read my FREE book FIGHT NOW: EAT & LIVE PROACTIVELY AGAINST BREAST CANCER. Please recommend to anyone interested in breast cancer, breast cancer treatment, and breast cancer symptoms.

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