Reduced risk of breast cancer recurrence in patients using ACE inhibitors, ARBs, and/or statins

Cancer Invest. 2011 Nov;29(9):585-93. doi: 10.3109/07357907.2011.616252. Epub 2011 Sep 21.


Background: Epidemiologic and biochemical evidence suggest a role of statins and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs) as anti-neoplastic agents. This study was designed to evaluate the association between the use of these agents and the risk of breast cancer recurrence.

Methods: We reviewed the medical records of patients treated for stage II/III breast cancer between 1999 and 2005. Statin and ACE-inhibitors/ARB users were defined as patients who took these medications for at least 6 months in no evidence of disease (NED) stage after the initial diagnosis. The primary outcome was disease-free survival and the secondary was overall survival. The Kaplan-Meier and Cox proportional hazard models were used.

Results: A total of 703 patients were included. The median and maximal of follow up was 55 and 118 months, respectively. A total of 168 patients used ACE-inhibitors/ARBs, 156 patients used statins, and 81 used both. Univariate analysis showed significant reduction in breast cancer recurrence among patients who used ACE-inhibitors/ARBs (hazard ratio (HR) = 0.57; 95% CI: 0.37-0.89; p = .013) or statins (HR = 0.43; 95% CI: 0.26-0.70; p < .001). After adjusting for multiple variables, the use of ACE-inhibitors/ARBs (HR = 0.49; 95% CI: 0.31-0.76; p = .002) and statins (HR = 0.40; 95% CI: 0.24-0.67; p < .001) remained significant and an additive effect was found on those who used both drugs (HR = 0.30 95% CI: 0.15-0.61; p = .001). No association was found regarding overall survival.

Conclusions: The use of ACE-inhibitors/ARBs, statins, and the combination of both were all associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer recurrence. This observation should prompt further exploration.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Angiotensin II Type 1 Receptor Blockers / therapeutic use*
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / epidemiology
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / prevention & control*
  • Pennsylvania / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult


  • Angiotensin II Type 1 Receptor Blockers
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors