Calcium Channel Blockers May Up Pancreatic Cancer Risk in Women

Increased hazard ratios for pancreatic cancer among postmenopausal users of short-acting CCBs
Increased hazard ratios for pancreatic cancer among postmenopausal users of short-acting CCBs

HealthDay News — Use of short-acting calcium channel blockers (CCBs) is associated with increased risk of pancreatic cancer in postmenopausal women, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, held from April 14 to 18 in Chicago.

Zhensheng Wang, PhD, from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and colleagues conducted a prospective study among 145,553 postmenopausal women aged 50 to 79 years with no prevalent cancer from the Women's Health Initiative who were followed for a mean of 13.8 years. In a subset of 842 participants, serum levels of soluble receptor for advanced glycation end-product (sRAGE) were assessed. 

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The researchers identified 841 incident pancreatic cancer cases by August 29, 2014. After adjustment for age, ethnicity, body mass index, smoking status, diabetes history, and use of β-blockers, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, or diuretics, ever users of CCBs had increased risk of pancreatic cancer (hazard ratio, 1.33). After accounting for competing risks, the correlation persisted (hazard ratio, 1.36). The hazard ratio for pancreatic cancer was 1.48 for long-term users of CCBs (more than three years) versus never users; the correlation was slightly attenuated, but remained significant, in the competing risk model (hazard ratio, 1.35). Compared with CCB never users, CCB users had a lower average serum sRAGE level (1,284 versus 1,457 pg/mL).

"We were, however, surprised by the unexpected increased risk of pancreatic cancer observed among users of short-acting CCBs," Wang said in a statement.

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