• epidemiology;
  • cancer incidence;
  • cancer mortality;
  • calcium channel blockers;
  • apoptosis



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.


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.


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).


These data suggest no important increase in overall cancer incidence or cancer mortality related to the self-reported use of calcium channel blockers. Cancer 1998;83:2003-2007. © 1998 American Cancer Society.