High Blood Pressure Medication May Help Reduce Colorectal Cancer Risk

Widely used medication including angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE-i) or angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) to treat high blood pressure (HBP) may reduce the chances of developing colorectal cancer, says a recent study published in the Journal of American Heart Association.

Colorectal cancer (CRC) can be defined as a disease in which cells in the lining of colon or rectum (part of the large intestine) begin to change, grow without control and no further cell death occurs. It is the second most frequent cause of cancer-related deaths and the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), 104,610 new cases of colon cancer and 43,340 new cases of rectal cancer will be diagnosed in America. There is a chance that every 1 in 23 men and 1 in 25 women will develop colorectal cancer in their lifetime.

Source: Genentech

The study author Wai K. Leung and his team from the University of Hong Kong conducted a retrospective study in which they reviewed a large data that has consisted of 187,897 adult patients from Hong Kong. The patients included in the study have been diagnosed with colorectal cancer. The analysis of the health records of the study sample was held between 2005 to 2013.

Findings of the Analysis

The team observed the previous data record of the patients and found that those patients who have prescribed the HBP medication including ACE-i or ARBs had a 22% lower risk of developing colorectal cancer.

ACE-i or ARBs are the most common medication prescribed for the treatment of hypertension which is the most common prevalent condition among 18.2% of the adults in the United Kingdom (UK), according to a retrospective cohort study published in the British Journal of General Practice (BJGP).

Source: World Health Organization (WHO)

ACE-i or ARBs work as inhibiting or blocking angiotensin which is a chemical that causes arteries to become narrow.

The lead author of the study Wai K. Leung, M.D., clinical professor of medicine at the University of Hong Kong said: “Our results provide new insights on the potential role of these medications for colorectal cancer prevention. This is the first study to show the potential beneficial effects of ACE inhibitors and ARBs on colorectal cancer development, based on a large group of patients who were colorectal cancer-free at the beginning of the study.”

The findings of the current study might be a great help for the medical health professional in treating colorectal cancer patients with high BP medications. Still, there’s a need for more detailed analysis to determine the potential benefits of hypertension medications on colorectal cancer risk.

The study was funded by the Health and Medical Research Fund (HMRF) of the Hong Kong SAR Government.

Factors that Increase Colorectal Cancer Risk

There are certain risk factors that play their part in developing colorectal cancer includes obesity, physical inactivity, a diet high in red and processed meats, smoking, heavy alcohol use, a history of colorectal polyps, inherited the gene for cancer, Lynch syndrome and Crohn’s disease. Therefore, the above-mentioned medications are not only effective in treating HBP but also for the management of some of the risk factors of hypertension such as cardiac failure, heart attacks, diabetes mellitus, and kidney disease.

Source: Kantar UK Insights

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