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Approved research

The use of commonly prescribed medications and survival in cancer patients

Principal Investigator: Dr Reema Karasneh
Approved Research ID: 40573
Approval date: January 8th 2019

Lay summary

In the UK, approximately 350,000 individuals are diagnosed with cancer each year and over 160,000 dies from cancer. Populations are increasingly exposed to a wide range of medications and the effect of the use of these medications in cancer patients on cancer progression and survival requires further investigation. This study will investigate the effect of commonly used medications (particularly statins, cardiac glycosides, clopidogrel, oral hypoglycemics, Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists, aspirin, Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), levothyroxine, proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), H2-antagonists, diuretics, warfarin, disease modifying drugs (DMARDs), antipsychotics, tumour necrosis factor (TNF) blockers, antiepileptic drugs, insulin, !-blockers, angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) Inhibitors, antidepressants, calcium antagonists, hormone contraceptives, angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) to identify whether their use in patients with breast, colorectal, prostate and lung cancer could inhibit or promote cancer progression. The risk of cancer death will be compared between individuals taking these medications to a suitable non-user comparison group. The study will use detailed data on the timing of drug exposure (from GP prescriptions) and will utilise linkages providing robust cancer data (from UK cancer registries) and robust death data (from the Office of National Statistics). Based on medications' mechanism or empirical evidence of their effect on cancer incidence and outcomes, it is possible that these medications could influence cancer progression. In this study new uses for existing medications may be identified if it could slow cancer progression, such a medication could be further investigated in randomised controlled trials of cancer prevention in patients at high risk of cancer or as cancer therapy. Alternatively, if a medication was shown to accelerate cancer progression, guidelines could be altered to reduce exposure to the medication. Therefore, it remains of importance to investigate such associations.