Use of antihypertensive drugs and risk of cutaneous melanoma: a nationwide nested case-control study

Int J Epidemiol. 2023 Jun 6;52(3):887-898. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyac223.


Background: Most antihypertensives can induce dermal photosensitivity, which may increase melanoma risk. However, corroborating evidence is limited. We examined the associations between use of antihypertensives and melanoma risk.

Methods: A nationwide nested case-control study was conducted using data from the Cancer Registry of Norway, the National Registry and the Norwegian Prescription Database in 2004-15. Ten controls were randomly selected for each melanoma case, matched on sex and birth year. The study included 12 048 cases and 117 895 controls. We estimated rate ratios (RRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). All analyses were adjusted for ambient ultraviolet radiation (UVR). We additionally performed active comparator analyses, and sensitivity analyses by only including new users, distinguishing between exclusive and mixed users, allowing for different latency periods, and subgroup analyses by melanoma subtype and clinical stage.

Results: Compared with non-use, we observed a slightly increased melanoma risk in users of diuretics (RR 1.08, CI 1.01-1.15), calcium-channel blockers (RR 1.10, CI 1.04-1.18) and drugs affecting the renin-angiotensin system (RR 1.10, CI 1.04-1.16), but not for beta blockers (RR 0.97, CI 0.92-1.03). We found no heterogeneity of associations by melanoma subtype or clinical stage and no dose-response relationship between the cumulative defined daily doses (DDDs) and melanoma. No interaction was found between cumulative DDDs and ambient UVR.

Conclusions: Weak associations, with lack of a dose-response relationship and lack of interactions with ambient UVR, in the DDD analysis in this nationwide study do not support a causal relationship between antihypertensives and melanoma risk.

Keywords: Antihypertensive drugs; melanoma; photosensitivity; ultraviolet radiation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antihypertensive Agents / adverse effects
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Humans
  • Melanoma* / epidemiology
  • Melanoma, Cutaneous Malignant
  • Skin Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Ultraviolet Rays


  • Antihypertensive Agents