COLUMBUS, Ohio Beta-blocker drugs, commonly used to treat high blood pressure, may also play a major role in slowing the progression of certain serious cancers, based on a new study.
A review of thousands of medical records in the Danish Cancer Registry showed that patients with the skin cancer melanoma, and who also were taking a specific beta-blocker, had much lower mortality rates than did patients not taking the drug.
The report, published in the current issue of the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, summarized the work of a team of researchers at Ohio State University's Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research (IBMR) and the Comprehensive Cancer Center.
If the results are confirmed in a planned clinical trial, this might be an additional adjunct treatment for cancer patients facing a poor prognosis.
At the center of this research is the fact that certain molecules that play important roles in the immune system also appear to promote both tumor growth and metastasis, the shedding and spreading of tumor tissue to other parts of the body.
"The work started with some earlier studies where we discovered that certain tumor cells had receptors to two specific catecholamine stress hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine," explained Ron Glaser, professor of molecular virology, immunology and medical genetics and director of the IBMR.
"When either of these hormones bind to the tumor cell receptors, it stimulates the production of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), interleukin-8 (IL-8), interleukin-6 (IL-6) and certain matrix metalloproteins all molecules known to stimulate blood flow to tumors, enhancing their growth, and promoting metastasis."
The earlier studies first used tissue from a nasopharyngeal carcinoma cell line, and later from both multiple myeloma and melanoma cell lines. When treated with the beta-blocker propranol, all cells stopped producing the t
|Contact: Ronald Glaser|
Ohio State University