Beta-blockers could increase breast cancer survival rates

According to Reuters, the use of beta-blockers could be instrumental in the fight to increase breast cancer survival rates.

Typically, beta-blockers are used to tackle high blood pressure and have be shown to reduce the effect of stress hormones such as adrenaline and noradrenaline. The drugs first came to the attention of researchers when it was round that stress responses were linked to tumour  growth.

Dr. Amal Melhem-Berrandt, who was instrumental in working on these studies stated, “There is a lot of literature suggesting chronic stress may influence breast cancer recurrence. We wanted to see whether blocking one of the arms of your stress response would help reduce breast cancer.”

Dr.Amal and her colleagues then went to study the medical records of 1,400 women treated for breast cancer with chemotherapy. They found that seven  per cent of  the women also  happened to be taking beta-blockers.

In one other study, it was found that those patients taking beta-blockers on average survived longer and did not see the tumour return than those who did not take the medication. These patients were also much less likely to suffer with a more aggressive form of breast cancer or even die from it.

However, experts do warn that at this stage, no patients should consider taking beta-blockers to treat cancer at this point.

Dr. Amal Melhem-Berrandt, stated, “We saw an association, now it’s time to prove whether they are the cause. It’s very promising, it’s encouraging, but we still have to do the studies.”

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