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The Making of Medicine

Blood Pressure Drugs Could Boost Colorectal Cancer Survival

Common drugs used to treat high blood pressure appear to benefit survival in patients with colorectal cancer, a new study suggests.

Research from our Rajesh Balkrishnan, PhD, and his colleagues found that ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers and thiazide diuretics were all associated with decreased mortality. They also found that patients who took their blood-pressure drugs consistently were less likely to die from their cancer.

ACE inhibitors and thiazide diuretics appeared to provide the most significant benefit in terms of patient survival and outcomes, while there did not appear to be similar benefits from calcium-channel blockers.

The researchers aren't clear whether the apparent benefits stem from the drugs themselves or from controlling patients’ high blood pressure. Could be either, or both, they say.

Based on their retrospective data analysis, the researchers are urging clinical trials in patients to determine if the drugs could benefit the battle against colorectal cancer.

“Cost-effective solutions to prolong cancer survivorship in older patients may lie in commonly used medications,” said Balkrishnan, of UVA Cancer Center and the School of Medicine's Department of Public Health Sciences. “However, we need further confirmation of these findings through clinical trials.”

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