Could Blood Pressure Medication Be The Key To A Longer Life For Those With Pancreatic Cancer?

Pancreatic cancer is a severe and life-threatening condition. In fact, pancreatic cancer is the most lethal of all cancers, with much lower survival rates due to its rapid onset and aggressive progression, according to Mayo Clinic. Because pancreatic cancer can progress to later stages without any symptoms, people often don't know they have it until it has spread to other organs (per Mayo Clinic). But new research shows that common blood pressure medications may add years of life to those with a pancreatic cancer diagnosis.

A 2022 study published in BMC Cancer reviewed hospital records of over 8,000 pancreatic patients in Italy over the course of eight years. While 86% of the patients died within five years of diagnosis, they found that those who took either angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) or angiotensin I converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors had lower mortality risks of 20% and 13% percent, respectively. The researchers suggest these two types of blood pressure medications should be studied further in clinical trials for those with limited options or a serious prognosis, especially due to their low price points and good safety indexes.

How do blood thinners help those with pancreatic cancer?

Traditional treatments for cancer include chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. But if the cancer is caught late, as is often the case with pancreatic cancer, doctors may recommend clinical trials or even palliative care, designed to help the patient live as comfortably as possible for as long as possible, without pursuing treatment (via Mayo Clinic). However, this new study suggests there's far more hope on the horizon for pancreatic cancer outcomes.

Both ARBS and ACEs work by relaxing your veins and arteries, allowing your heart to pump blood with greater ease. Animal studies have shown they slow the growth of pancreatic cancer and now human studies are showing the same. The authors of the study recommend using ARBs over ACEs because they were far more effective at extending patients' lifespans. While the research is promising, the study authors suggest more conclusive evidence is needed.