Posts Tagged ‘angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs)’

Angiotensin-Receptor Blockades (ARBs) Found to Raise Risk of Cancer

July 9, 2010

Dr. Daniel Simon M.D., Division Chief of Cardiovascular Medicine and Director of HM-Heart and Vascular Institute at UHCMC; Dr. James Fang M.D., Section Chief of Heart Failure and Medical Director of Heart Transplantation at UHCMC; IIke Sipahi M.D., Associate Director of Heart Failure & Transplantation at UHCMC at the Harrington-McLaughlin Heart & Vascular Institute of UHCMC researched the effects of Angiotensin-Receptor Blockers (ARBs) on the risk of cancer.

ARBs are a widely utilized drug class used for treatment of hypertension, heart failure, diabetic nephropathy, and recently, for cardiovascular risk reduction.

Randomized controlled trials of ARBs with a follow-up of at least 1 year, and enrolling at least 100 patients were included in this meta-analysis. Information on new cancer development (first diagnosis) was available for 61,590 patients from five trials. Cancer data on common types of solid organ cancers such as lung and prostate cancer were available for 68,402 patients from five trials, and data on cancer deaths were available for 93,515 patients from eight trials.

The meta-analysis showed that patients randomly assigned to receive ARBs had a significantly increased risk of new cancer occurrence compared with patients in control groups (7.2%vs 6.0%). Specifically, the risk of lung cancer was increased by 25%, which was also statistically significant.

“We have found the risk of new cancers was increased with these medications by 8-11 percent.  Most importantly, risk of lung cancer was increased by 25 percent,” said Dr. Sipahi. Although there was no statistically significant excess in cancer deaths (1.8% with ARBs vs 1.6% with control) the investigators pointed out that the average duration of follow-up of 4 years may be too short to capture cancer deaths.

“In medicine, physicians must balance the benefits and risks of all drug and device therapies.  We recommend that patients discuss the findings of this study with their physicians since ARBs are effective agents in the treatment of high blood pressure and heart failure,” said Dr. Simon.

They conclude that because of the limited data, it is not possible to draw conclusions about the exact risk of cancer associated with each individual ARB on the market, but they stated that their findings need further investigation.

In response to this publication from Case Western Reserve University, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) of the European Union announced that they started an investigation about the possible cancer risk of ARBs.

“This is the first time an association between ARBs and cancer development is suggested,” Dr. Sipahi continued. “While our findings are robust, they need to be replicated in other studies before they can be considered as definitive.”

The US Food and Drug Administration has not made any statement regarding this issue yet.

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Cardiologists discover cancer risks in group of blood pressure medications

June 24, 2010

University Hospitals Case Medical Center cardiologists have uncovered new research showing an increased risk of cancer with a group of blood pressure medications known as angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs).

This class of drugs is used by millions of patients not only for high blood pressure but also for heart failure, cardiovascular risk reduction and diabetic kidney disease.

University Hospitals Harrington-McLaughlin Heart & Vascular Institute’s Drs. Ilke Sipahi, Daniel I. Simon and James C. Fang recently completed a meta-analysis of over 60,000 patients randomly assigned to take either an ARB or a control medication. Their findings are published online today at The Lancet Oncology.

The researchers found that patients randomized to ARBs has “significantly increased risk of new cancer” compared to control patients.

“We have found the risk of new cancers was increased with these medications by 8-11 percent,” said Dr. Ilke Sipahi, associate director of heart failure and transplantation and assistant professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. “Most importantly, risk of lung cancer was increased by 25 percent.”

However, the research did not establish any link between ARBs and other types of cancer such breast cancer.

“This is the first time an association between ARBs and cancer development is suggested,” Dr. Sipahi continued. “While our findings are robust, they need to be replicated in other studies before they can be considered as definitive.”

Before this study, there were no major safety concerns with ARBs except for their use in pregnancy and in patients with chronic kidney or blockages of kidney arteries. Interestingly, previous animal studies with ARBs have been negative for cancer development.

“In medicine, physicians must balance the benefits and risks of all drug and device therapies,” said Dr. Daniel Simon, director of the Harrington-McLaughlin Heart & Vascular Institute at University Hospitals Case Medical Center and professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. “We recommend that patients discuss the findings of this study with their physicians since ARBs are effective agents in the treatment of high blood pressure and heart failure. Meta-analyses are a powerful tool to look at low frequency safety signals, but require confirmation with other approaches, such as large national health and managed care registries.”