Current use of antihypertensive medication may be associated with a slightly increased risk for ovarian cancer, according to a study published in the International Journal of Cancer.1

Researchers led by Tianyi Huang, PhD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, prospectively followed 90 384 women through the Nurses’ Health Study from 1988 to 2012, as well as the Nurses’ Health Study II which included 113 121 women from 1989 to 2011. Hypertension status and use of antihypertensive medications were self-reported biennially.

They documented 948 cases of ovarian cancer during follow-up, while similar results were observed in two cohorts.

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Although they found that hypertension was not associated with ovarian cancer risk, current use of antihypertensive medication was associated with a slightly increased risk compared with those who never took medication for hypertension. The increased risk was found to be primarily due to use of thiazide diuretics.

In addition, they found no association with beta blockers or angiotensin-converting–enzyme inhibitors. Upon adjusting for all antihypertensive medications, they found that calcium channel blockers were associated with suggestively reduced risk.

“Our results provided no evidence that beta-blockers were associated with reduced ovarian cancer risk,” the authors concluded. “In contrast, we observed an increased risk for use of thiazide diuretics that should be confirmed in other studies.”


1. Huang T, Poole EM, Eliassen AH, et al. Hypertension, use of antihypertensive medications, and risk of epithelial ovarian cancer [published online ahead of print March 23, 2016]. Int J Cancer. doi:10.1002/ijc.30066.