Colorectal cancer risk is not reduced by taking blood pressure medications called beta blockers, according to a new study published online on May 14th.
According to MSN Health, Dr. David Robbins, associate chief of the Center for Advanced Therapeutic Endoscopy at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, explained that:
“One of the holy grails in the war on cancer is preventing angiogenesis, which is the growth of new blood vessels to feed tumor cells…Some investigators have speculated that an indirect benefit of certain blood pressure medicines may be to help curb the growth of new blood vessels in breast and perhaps colon cancer.”
Online reports that the study was published in the journal Cancer, and was led by Michael Hoffmeister, who works at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg. The study compared beta blocker use in more than 1,700 colorectal cancer patients to its use in the same number of people who are cancer free.
They also took into account other factors, such as weight, smoking status, and other patient factors. The result was that the researchers found no link between using beta blockers and reduced risk of colon cancer.
The results did not surprise Robbins, who stated:
“The few studies on this matter have been contradictory and it’s unlikely that we’ll ever see this sort of protective effect, since cancer is an incredibly complex disease driven by a myriad of unique biologic pathways.”
Dr. Mark Pochapin, director of the division of gastroenterology at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City is also not surprised. He said of the study, and cancer that:
“Men and women at average risk should start getting screened at age 50. Those with certain risk factors, such as a family history of colorectal polyps or cancer, should talk to their doctors about screening at a younger age.”
He went on to say that, instead of taking beta blockers to reduce risk, that making lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking and maintaining a health body weight, will be more beneficial in reducing the risk for colorectal cancer.