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Researchers conclude the drug improves survival odds, but needs more investigation

-- Jane Parry

Friday, March 26, 2010 (Last Updated: 03/29/2010)

FRIDAY, March 26 (HealthDay News) -- Using beta blockers as an adjuvant therapy to treat breast cancer may reduce tumor metastasis and improve the odds of survival, according to a study presented at the European Breast Cancer Conference, held from March 24 to 27 in Barcelona, Spain.

Desmond G. Powe, Ph.D., of Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a study of 466 breast cancer patients, of whom 92 received antihypertensive medication. Of these, 43 (46.7 percent) were on beta blockers when they were diagnosed with breast cancer.

The researchers found that the patients taking beta blockers had a significant reduction in distant metastases and local recurrence. They also had better survival odds than other patients, with a 71 percent reduced risk of breast cancer-specific mortality.

"We were also able to study the presence of one receptor for beta blockers, β2AR, as a potential biomarker for predicting clinical response to beta-blocker treatment, but we did not find that this correlated directly to the outcome of treatment. We are currently looking at other target receptors as predictors of clinical outcome," Powe said in a statement. "We also need to look at whether beta blockers could be given as a supplementary therapy with existing breast cancer treatment."

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Specialties Oncology
OBGYN & Women's Health

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