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Hypertension and Antihypertensive Medication During Pregnancy

Hypertension during pregnancy and preeclampsia can be harmful to both the mother and the unborn child. The impact of using antihypertensive medication to control these conditions during pregnancy on childhood cancer risk has not been studied thoroughly until now. 

CLIC Researchers, Drs. Pei-Chen Lee from Taiwan and Julia Heck from the US, recently published a paper describing this relationship between maternal hypertension, preeclampsia, and antihypertensives taken during pregnancy and the risks of childhood cancers. They used data from the Taiwanese Maternal and Child Health Database and the National Health Insurance Database and Cancer Registry, a population of over two million families (approximately 1 case:1000 controls).

The researchers assessed the connections between maternal hypertension and maternal antihypertensive drug use in pregnancy with risks of multiple pediatric cancers. They found an increased risk of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) in the children of mothers with any gestational or chronic hypertension; however, they saw only a weak increase in cancer risk in children whose mothers had hypertension and used diuretics or antihypertensives before birth. No increased risk was seen in children of mothers with preeclampsia. 

The results from this study emphasize the impact of a mother’s health and in-utero environment on childhood cancer risk. CLIC researchers are committed to sharing resources and data to understand what causes childhood cancers so that they can prevent them. This paper by Drs. Lee and Heck shows that primary prevention of childhood cancer begins with maternal health. 

Article Title: Effects of hypertension and use of antihypertensive drugs in pregnancy on the risks of childhood cancers in Taiwan. 

Authors: Orimoloye HT, Hu YH, Federman N, Ritz B, Arah OA, Li CY, Lee PC, Heck JE. Published In: Cancer Causes Control. 2024 Apr 1. doi: 10.1007/s10552-024-01864-6. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 38557933.