Beta-blockers tied to breast cancer survival

(Reuters) — Women with breast cancer who take common blood pressure drugs may have better odds of surviving the disease, according to two preliminary studies.

In one study, women taking drugs known as beta-blockers survived longer without seeing the tumor return than those not on the medication. In the other, they were less likely to be diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer or die from it.

Still, the researchers strike a cautious note and say no one should consider taking beta-blockers to stave off cancer at this point.

“We saw an association, now it’s time to prove whether they are the cause,” said Dr. Amal Melhem-Bertrandt, who worked on one of the studies. “It’s very promising, it’s encouraging, but we still have to do the studies.”

Beta-blockers curb the effect of stress hormones like adrenaline and noradrenaline, and are used to treat high blood pressure.

Cancer researchers began to take an interest in them after animal studies showed stress responses are linked to tumor growth.

“There is a lot of literature suggesting chronic stress may influence breast cancer recurrence,” Melhem-Bertrandt told Reuters Health. “We wanted to see whether blocking one of the arms of your stress response would help reduce breast cancer.”

So she and her colleagues looked at medical records for some 1,400 women treated for breast cancer with chemotherapy and surgery at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. About seven percent of the women also happened to be taking beta-blockers.


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 4.00 out of 5)
Loading ... Loading ...