Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 365–371 | Cite as

Use of antihypertensive medications and breast cancer risk

  • Babette S. Saltzman
  • Noel S. Weiss
  • Weiva Sieh
  • Annette L. Fitzpatrick
  • Anne McTiernan
  • Janet R. Daling
  • Christopher I. Li
Original paper



Use of specific antihypertensive medications (AHTs) has been hypothesized to increase breast cancer risk, but results across published studies are inconsistent.


We re-evaluated the relationship between AHT use and breast cancer risk in a prospective cohort of 3,201 women ≥65 years of age at recruitment now with more than double the length of follow-up (12 vs. 5 years) and substantially more breast cancer diagnoses (188 compared with 75 cases). We estimated the association between AHT use overall as well as use of specific formulations (based on data collected annually) and breast cancer risk using multivariate-adjusted Cox regression.


Compared with women who reported no use of AHTs, women who had used calcium channel blockers (CCB) within the past two years had a 1.6-fold increased risk of breast cancer (95 % confidence interval (CI): 1.0–2.5), and in particular, recent users of immediate-release CCBs had a 2.4-fold increased risk (95 % CI: 1.3–4.5). Neither ever nor recent use of any other type of AHT was associated with breast cancer risk.


While the observed association between immediate-release CCBs and breast cancer risk is based on a small sample size and needs to be interpreted cautiously, this result is consistent with others in the literature. However, given declines in use of these preparations in favor of sustained-release CCBs, which was not related to risk, the potential clinical and public health impact of this association is limited. This study also adds to the evidence that other commonly used AHTs are not strongly related to breast cancer risk.


Breast cancer Etiology Epidemiology Risk factors Antihypertensive medications 



The Cardiovascular Health Study ( provided all of the subjects and specimens for this project, and Dr. Mary Lou Biggs was particularly supportive throughout. Cancer incidence data were supplied by the California Cancer Registry, North Carolina Central Cancer Registry, Pennsylvania Bureau of Health Statistics, Maryland Cancer Registry, and Johns Hopkins Training Center for Public Health Research; these institutions specifically disclaim responsibility for any analyses, interpretations, or conclusions expressed herein. This research was supported in part by a pilot grant from the Avon Foundation for women.

Conflict of interest

None to disclose.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Babette S. Saltzman
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Noel S. Weiss
    • 1
    • 2
  • Weiva Sieh
    • 4
  • Annette L. Fitzpatrick
    • 2
  • Anne McTiernan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Janet R. Daling
    • 1
    • 2
  • Christopher I. Li
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Public Health SciencesFred Hutchinson Cancer Research CenterSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Department of EpidemiologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  3. 3.Seattle Children’s HospitalSeattleUSA
  4. 4.Department of Health Research and PolicyStanford University School of MedicineStanfordUSA

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