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Thursday 27th October 2016

Beta-blockers reduce cancer spread

29th March 2010

Researchers believe blood pressure drugs may be able to reduce the ability of breast cancer to spread around the body.


A study by Dr Des Powe from Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham, and Professor Frank Entschladen from Witten University in Germany, found that cancer patients taking beta-blockers had a lower risk of dying.

They looked at 466 people in three groups of breast cancer patients: the first group had high blood pressure and were taking beta-blockers; the second had high blood pressure but were taking different medication; while the third had no blood pressure.

The joint UK-German research found that in the 43 who were taking beta-blockers, there was a significant reduction in both cancer metastasis and new tumours within the breast.

The subjects in this group had a 71% lower chance of dying from breast cancer compared with the other groups.

Dr Powe said: "It is reasonable to speculate, therefore, that some non-hypertensive women with breast cancer will respond favourably to beta-blocker treatment, though doses and side-effects would need to be investigated in clinical trials."

While the study needs to be reproduced in a larger group, the researchers say they are encouraged by the early results.

The research, presented at the European Breast Cancer Conference in Barcelona, suggest that the ability of cancer cells to increase in number and spread is boosted by the presence of stress hormones.

Beta-blockers attach themselves to the same receptors on cancer cells used by these hormones, potentially reducing their ability to stimulate the cell and trigger spread.


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