Cancer risk in users of calcium channel blockers

Hypertension. 1997 May;29(5):1091-4. doi: 10.1161/01.hyp.29.5.1091.


Ca2+ channel blockers may cause cancer by inhibiting apoptosis or reducing intracellular Ca2+ in certain tissues. Recent findings suggest that drug users are at increased risk for cancer in general and for colon cancer in particular. We conducted a study in one Danish county of 17911 patients who received at least one prescription of Ca2+ channel blockers between 1 January 1991 and 31 December 1993. The patients were identified from records in the National Health Insurance Program, which refunds part of the price of such drugs. Cancer occurrence and rate were determined by use of the files of the Danish Cancer Registry and compared with county-specific incidence rates for various categories of cancer. During the follow-up period of up to 3 years, 412 cancers were observed among users of Ca2+ channel blockers, compared with 414 expected, to yield an age- and sex-standardized incidence ratio (SIR) of 1.00 (95% confidence interval, 0.90 to 1.10). There was no indication of an excess risk in the subgroup of likely long-term users or users of specific drugs. The SIR of colon cancer, a site of a priori interest, was 0.8 (95% confidence interval, 0.5 to 1.1) on the basis of 34 cases. Although the results are reassuring, the lack of association could reflect the relatively short follow-up after registration in the prescription database. Continued monitoring of cancer risk is planned.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Calcium Channel Blockers / adverse effects*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Risk Factors


  • Calcium Channel Blockers