University Hospitals Case Medical Center cardiologists in Cleveland said the class of drugs -- which includes such brand names as Atacand, Teveten, Avalide, Avapro, Cozaar, Hyzaar, Benicar, Micardis and Diovan -- is used not only to control high blood pressure, but also for heart failure, cardiovascular risk reduction and diabetic kidney disease.
Drs. Ilke Sipahi, Daniel Simon and James Fang, who led the study, conducted a meta-analysis of more than 60,000 patients randomly assigned to take either an ARB or a control medication. They found patients taking the ARBs had significantly increased risk of new cancer compared to control patients.
"We have found the risk of new cancers was increased with these medications by 8-11 percent," said Sipahi, an assistant professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. "Most importantly, risk of lung cancer was increased by 25 percent."
However, the research did not establish any link between ARBs and other types of cancer, such as breast cancer.
"This is the first time an association between ARBs and cancer development is suggested," Sipahi said. "While our findings are robust, they need to be replicated in other studies before they can be considered as definitive."
The findings appear in the early online edition of The Lancet Oncology.