Blood pressure and risk of cancer incidence and mortality in the Metabolic Syndrome and Cancer Project

Hypertension. 2012 Apr;59(4):802-10. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.111.189258. Epub 2012 Feb 21.


Observational studies have shown inconsistent results for the association between blood pressure and cancer risk. We investigated the association in 7 cohorts from Norway, Austria, and Sweden. In total, 577799 adults with a mean age of 44 years were followed for, on average, 12 years. Incident cancers were 22184 in men and 14744 in women, and cancer deaths were 8724 and 4525, respectively. Cox regression was used to calculate hazard ratios of cancer per 10-mmHg increments of midblood pressure, which corresponded with 0.7 SDs and, for example, an increment of systolic/diastolic blood pressure of 130/80 to 142/88 mmHg. All of the models used age as the time scale and were adjusted for possible confounders, including body mass index and smoking status. In men, midblood pressure was positively related to total incident cancer (hazard ratio per 10 mmHg increment: 1.07 [95% CI: 1.04-1.09]) and to cancer of the oropharynx, colon, rectum, lung, bladder, kidney, malignant melanoma, and nonmelanoma skin cancer. In women, midblood pressure was not related to total incident cancer but was positively related to cancer of the liver, pancreas, cervix, uterine corpus, and malignant melanoma. A positive association was also found for cancer mortality, with HRs per 10-mmHg increment of 1.12 (95% CI: 1.08-1.15) for men and 1.06 (95% CI: 1.02-1.11) for women. These results suggest a small increased cancer risk overall in men with elevated blood pressure level and a higher risk for cancer death in men and women.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Austria / epidemiology
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / complications*
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Hypertension / physiopathology*
  • Incidence
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Survival Rate
  • Sweden / epidemiology