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Beta-blockers help reduce metastasis and improve survival in breast cancer patients
Date:3/26/2010

Barcelona, Spain: Treatment with beta-blockers can help reduce the spread of cancer in patients with breast tumours, a researcher will tell the seventh European Breast Cancer Conference (EBCC7) in Barcelona today (Friday). In a controlled study, Dr. Des Powe, a senior healthcare research scientist at Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham University Hospital NHS Trust, Nottingham, UK, and his team found that the group of patients treated with beta-blockers showed a significant reduction in metastasis and better survival. The scientists believe that they are the first in the world to have investigated the effect of beta-blockers in breast cancer patients.

In collaboration with Professor Frank Entschladen's group at Witten University, Germany, Dr. Powe looked at three groups of breast cancer patients: those who were already being treated for hypertension by beta-blockers, those whose hypertension was treated by other medications, and those who did not suffer from hypertension and were therefore not taking any treatment for it. Forty-three of the 466 patients were already taking beta-blockers and, in this group, there were significant reductions in both distant metastasis and local recurrence. They also had a 71% reduced risk of dying from breast cancer compared with the other groups.

"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," says Dr. Powe, "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."

Previous cell line laboratory studies have shown that beta-blockers work against various types of cancer because high levels of stress hormones in the tumour increase cell proliferation and migration (the movement of cells to other locations). "These effects are induced by the stress hormones norepinephrine and e
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Contact: Mary Rice
mary@mrcommunication.org
ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation
Source:Eurekalert

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