Beta Blockers May Help Prevent Cancer

Beta Blockers are prescription medications used for high blood pressureTreatment with a certain type of blood pressure medication has been associated with better outcomes in breast cancer, according to British researchers from the Nottingham University Hospital in England.

Based on their review of 466 medical records of breast cancer patients, those taking blood pressure medication referred to as beta blockers, had a 71% reduction in the risk of breast cancer-specific death.  Also, there was a 57% reduction in the risk of distant metastasis, compared with patients on other antihypertensive agents or no antihypertensive therapy. 

The findings of this study add to previous research suggesting that drugs of this type might have anticancer activity.  In one study of patients with cardiovascular disease, there was a significant reduction in total cancer incidence among patients treated with beta blockers versus those on other antihypertensive medications.  In another study, prostate cancer was found to be significantly reduced in patients treated with alpha-1 blockers.

These findings are very compelling, but more research in this area is needed before any definite conclusions can be made.  

Source: Powe DG, et al “Beta-blocker treatment is associated with a reduction in tumor metastasis and an improvement in specific survival in patients with breast cancer” EBCC 2010; Abstract 445. 

Source: “EBCC: Beta-Blocker Role in Breast Cancer Examined ”, MedPage Today, March 30, 2010 

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