Health Discoveries in Breast Cancer

Blood pressure drugs have opposite effect on breast cancer

April 26, 2011
UCLA researchers have added to previous research that found ACE inhibitors commonly used as a blood pressure medication increases the risk of breast cancer.

But the researchers also uncovered surprising evidence that another type of blood pressure medicine, beta blockers, can reduce the risk of a cancer recurrence. The findings are published online in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment.

The study casts attention on the growing interest in the "microenvironment" that can affect the course of breast cancer, which includes the regular use of medications in addition to lifestyle influences.

"Tumors may be living in the breast before we even known about it," said Dr. Patricia A. Ganz, director of cancer prevention at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. "The microenvironment may either facilitate or keep under control whether the cells disseminate."

Working with data from nearly 1,800 cases of women with early-stage breast cancer, the research team found that ACE inhibitors caused a 56 percent greater risk for cancer recurrence, while 14 percent of women who took a beta blocker had a reduced risk.

Within the North Shore-LIJ Health System, the Frank Guldon Radiation Oncology Center at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, New York, has new radiation techniques that can shorten treatment time from weeks to days.
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