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Some Antihypertensive Drugs May Increase Susceptibility to Skin Cancer, Study Finds

By: Bryna Goeking
Posted: Friday, April 12, 2024

A recent study, conducted by David Castillo-Molina, MD, and colleagues at Fundación Para la Investigación en Dermatología-Funinderma, Bogatá, Colombia, explored the relationship between drugs taken to treat hypertension in elderly patients and skin cancer. They discovered an association between developing skin cancer and the consumption of certain antihypertensive drugs in this patient population. The team reported their findings at the 2024 American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) Annual Meeting (Poster 53946).

“Our results are consistent with the current literature regarding the association between hydrochlorothiazide and [skin cancer],” the authors reported. “We also found a statistically significant association between [skin cancer] and losartan.” Based on these results, the authors advocate for more education on potential carcinogenic risks and sun protection for patients taking antihypertensive drugs, given the high prevalence of hypertension in older adults.

The team analyzed 268 patients from Colombia who were treated for skin cancers including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma in addition to hypertension. The highest correlation between skin cancer and antihypertensive drugs was seen with the use of hydrochlorothiazide (74.0% of patients had basal cell carcinoma) and losartan (75.1% of patients had basal cell carcinoma). From these findings, the authors reported an association between developing skin cancer and taking hydrochlorothiazide (P < .001) and losartan (P < .001).

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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