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Background: Epidemiological studies have reported conflicting findings on the potential adverse effects of long-term antihypertensive medication use on cancer risk. Naturally occurring variation in genes encoding antihypertensive drug targets can be used as proxies for these targets to examine the effect of their long-term therapeutic inhibition on disease outcomes. Methods: Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in ACE, ADRB1, and SLC12A3 associated (P < 5.0 x 10-8) with systolic blood pressure in genome-wide association studies (GWAS) were used to proxy inhibition of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), {beta}-1 adrenergic receptor (ADRB1), and sodium-chloride symporter (NCC), respectively. Summary genetic association estimates for these SNPs were obtained from GWAS consortia for the following cancers: breast (122,977 cases, 105,974 controls), colorectal (58,221 cases, 67,694 controls), lung (29,266 cases, 56,450 controls), and prostate (79,148 cases, 61,106 controls). Replication analyses were performed in the FinnGen consortium (1,573 colorectal cancer cases, 120,006 controls). Inverse-variance weighted random-effects models were used to examine associations between genetically-proxied inhibition of these drug targets and risk of cancer. Multivariable Mendelian randomization and colocalisation analyses were employed to examine robustness of findings to violations of Mendelian randomization assumptions. Results: Genetically-proxied ACE inhibition equivalent to a 1 mmHg reduction in systolic blood pressure was associated with increased odds of colorectal cancer (OR 1.13, 95% CI 1.06-1.22; P = 3.6 x 10-4). This finding was replicated in the FinnGen consortium (OR 1.40, 95% CI 1.02-1.92; P = 0.035). There was little evidence of association of genetically-proxied ACE inhibition with risk of breast cancer (OR 0.98, 95% CI 0.94-1.02, P = 0.35), lung cancer (OR 1.01, 95% CI 0.92-1.10; P = 0.93), or prostate cancer (OR 1.06, 95% CI 0.99-1.13; P = 0.08). Genetically-proxied inhibition of ADRB1 and NCC were not associated with risk of these cancers. Conclusion: Genetically-proxied long-term ACE inhibition was associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer, warranting comprehensive evaluation of the safety profiles of ACE inhibitors in clinical trials with adequate follow-up. There was little evidence to support associations across other drug target-cancer risk analyses, consistent with findings from short-term randomised controlled trials for these medications.

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