Long-term use of calcium channel blocking drugs and breast cancer risk in a prospective cohort of US and Puerto Rican women

Breast Cancer Res. 2016 Jul 5;18(1):61. doi: 10.1186/s13058-016-0720-6.


Background: In a recent case-control study, long-term use of calcium channel blocking drugs was associated with a greater-than-twofold increased breast cancer risk. If prospectively collected data confirm that calcium channel blocker use increases breast cancer risk, this would have major implications for hypertension treatment. The objective of this study was to determine whether women using calcium channel blockers for 10 years or more were at increased risk of developing breast cancer compared with women not using calcium channel blockers.

Methods: The Sister Study is a prospective volunteer cohort study of women from the USA and Puerto Rico designed to evaluate environmental and genetic risk factors for breast cancer. Beginning in 2003, women between the ages of 35 and 74 were recruited. They were eligible to participate if they had a sister with breast cancer but had not been diagnosed with breast cancer themselves. In total, 50,884 women enrolled in the cohort between 2003 and 2009; 50,757 women with relevant baseline data and available follow-up data are included in this study. The exposure of interest is current use of calcium channel blocking drugs and the reported duration of use at entry into the cohort. Secondary exposures of interest were the duration and frequency of use for all other subclasses of antihypertensive drugs. Our main outcome is a self-reported diagnosis of breast cancer during the study follow-up period. With patient permission, self-reported diagnoses were confirmed using medical records.

Results: Results showed 15,817 participants were currently using an antihypertensive drug, and 3316 women were currently using a calcium channel blocker at study baseline; 1965 women reported a breast cancer diagnosis during study follow-up. Using Cox proportional hazards modeling, we found no increased risk of breast cancer among women who had been using calcium channel blockers for 10 years or more compared with never users of calcium channel blockers (HR 0.88, 95 % CI 0.58-1.33).

Conclusions: We saw no evidence of increased risk of breast cancer from 10 years or more of current calcium channel blocker use. Our results do not support avoiding calcium channel blocking drugs in order to reduce breast cancer risk.

Keywords: Antihypertensive drugs; Breast cancer risk; Calcium channel blockers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antihypertensive Agents / adverse effects*
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Calcium Channel Blockers / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Puerto Rico / epidemiology
  • Risk
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Calcium Channel Blockers