This research used GP data to check whether or not a drug commonly prescribed for heart failure and high blood pressure might be linked to an increased risk of cancer. It concluded that such a link was unlikely, providing important reassurance for people taking this drug and the doctors who prescribe it.

Why was this work needed?

Angiotensin receptor blockers are drugs that are commonly used to treat heart failure, high blood pressure and diabetic nephropathy (kidney damage). However, there had been some concerns that they might also increase the risk of cancer.

What happened?

This study used GP data to compare the cancer rates of people taking angiotensin receptor blockers with the cancer rates among people taking ACE inhibitors, which is not thought to raise cancer risk.

What were the benefits?

The researchers showed that there was no significant difference in cancer rates between the two groups and therefore concluded that angiotensin receptor blockers do not increase the risk of cancer. This is reassuring and important information for doctors and patients alike.

What type of data was involved?

This study used the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD).

All data was de-personalised before being used by the researchers.

Who funded and collaborated on this work?

The funding for this research came from a post-doctoral fellowship from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

Where can I go for more information?

Angiotensin receptor blockers and risk of cancer: cohort study among people receiving antihypertensive drugs in UK General Practice Research Database