New research suggests that, contrary to previous reports, dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers (dCCBs) do not increase the risk of pancreatic cancer. The findings were published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

The researchers noted that prior studies showed an association between dCCB use and pancreatic cancer, but those studies had “methodological limitations.” The aim of the current study was to re-evaluate the potential association using a “clinically-relevant comparator.”

The study included data from 344,480 patients who began taking dCCBs and 357,968 patients who began taking thiazide diuretics between 1990 and 2018. The median follow-up was 4.5 years.

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Before weighting, baseline characteristics were largely similar between the dCCB and thiazide diuretic groups. However, patients taking dCCBs were more likely to be men and more likely to be taking statins, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, and proton pump inhibitors. After weighting, all baseline characteristics were well balanced.

The incidence of pancreatic cancer was not significantly different between the 2 groups. The weighted incidence rate was 37.2 per 100,000 person-years in the dCCB group and 39.4 per 100,000 person-years in the thiazide diuretic group (weighted hazard ratio [wHR], 0.93; 95% CI, 0.80-1.09). 

Taking dCCBs for a longer period of time did not increase the risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Among patients who had received dCCBs or thiazide diuretics for more than 10 years, the incidence rates of pancreatic cancer were 48.5 and 63.0, respectively (wHR, 0.77; 95% CI, 0.47-1.26).

“Given the long-term use of dCCBs in patients with hypertension, this observational study provides much needed evidence, as well as reassurance to physicians and patients, regarding the safety of this drug class with respect to pancreatic cancer,” the researchers concluded.

Disclosures: Some study authors declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of disclosures.


Rouette J, McDonald EG, Schuster T, et al. Dihydropyridine calcium channel blockersand risk of pancreatic cancer: A population-based cohort study. J Am Heart Assoc. 2022;11:e026789. doi:10.1161/JAHA.122.026789