Beta Blockers Block More than High BP

Blood pressure medication may aid in cancer treatment

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) One type of medication may do the job of two: Control high blood pressure and melanoma tumor growth.

A hopeful sign of a supplementary treatment for melanoma skin cancers is being investigated. A review of treatment records from Danish patients who were prescribed a beta blocker before or near the at the time of their melanoma diagnosis were found to have longer survival rate than those who were not - almost five additional years. 

Ohio State University plans further research with clinical trials with the hope that it will be OK'd as an additional therapy to combat melanoma. 

"Check your blood pressure regularly."

Stanley Lemshow, professor and dean of the College of Public Health at Ohio State University reviewed the treatment records of over 4000 melanoma patients on the Danish Cancer Registry.  Three-hundred and seventy two of these patients were taking beta-blockers within 90 days of the melanoma diagnosis, and these patients lived longer by an average of 13%

The report is published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. From there, Ohio State researchers at the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research (IBMR) have since then picked up the ball to use this information as a basis to support separate clinical research they have conducted on cellular chemical receptors for norpinephrine and epinephrine on tumors.

"The idea is that if you treat a patient with beta blockers, the you can counteract [epinephrine] and [norepinephrine] and lower the amounts of those molecules that induce tumor progression, prehaps halting it," said Eric Yang, an associate member of the IBMR and assistant research professor of internal medicine.

This study appears in the Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
October 5, 2011
Last Updated:
October 16, 2011