Calcium channel blockers, cancer incidence, and cancer mortality in a cohort of U.S. women: the nurses' health study

Cancer. 1998 Nov 1;83(9):2003-7.


Background: Some studies have suggested that the use of calcium channel blockers may increase the risk of cancer. A possible association of the use of calcium channel blockers with cancer incidence and cancer mortality was addressed using data from the Nurses' Health Study.

Methods: In this study, a total of 18,635 female nurses reported regularly taking at least 1 of 4 cardiovascular medications in 1988: diuretics, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, and/or angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. Cancer incidence and cancer deaths were ascertained until 1994.

Results: During 6 years of follow-up, 852 women were newly diagnosed with cancer and 335 women died of cancer. Women who reported the use of calcium channel blockers had no increased risk of newly diagnosed cancer compared with those taking other cardiovascular drugs (relative risk=1.02; 95% CI 0.83-1.26). The relative risk of dying from cancer associated with the self-reported use of calcium channel blockers was 1.25 (95% CI 0.91-1.72). Relative risks were adjusted for the following self-reported factors: age; weight; height; cholesterol level; systolic and diastolic blood pressure; smoking; alcohol intake; physical activity; menopausal status; postmenopausal hormone use; aspirin use; and history of diabetes, cancer, stroke, myocardial infarction, coronary artery bypass graft or percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty, angina, and hypertension. Regarding site specific cancer incidence and mortality, only lung cancer incidence was somewhat increased (RR=1.61; 95% CI 0.88-2.96).

Conclusions: These data suggest no important increase in overall cancer incidence or cancer mortality related to the self-reported use of calcium channel blockers.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / adverse effects
  • Adult
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Calcium Channel Blockers / adverse effects*
  • Diuretics / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / chemically induced*
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Nurses*
  • Occupational Health*
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Calcium Channel Blockers
  • Diuretics