Date of publication: August 3, 2013
Beta blockers-drugs used to manage high blood pressure and certain other conditions-may be linked with improved prognosis among postmenopausal women with early-stage triple-negative breast cancer. These results were published in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment.
Observational studies have suggested that drugs known as beta blockers may reduce the likelihood of developing certain types of cancer, and may also be linked with improved prognosis after cancer develops.
To explore the relationship between beta blockers and cancer outcomes among women with triple-negative breast cancer, researchers in Italy conducted a study among 800 postmenopausal women who had undergone surgery for early-stage triple-negative breast cancer. At the time of cancer diagnosis, 9.3% of the women were using a beta blocker.
- A breast cancer recurrence or death due to breast cancer occurred in 14% of women who used beta blockers and 28% of women who did not use beta blockers. The better prognosis among women who used beta blockers was not explained by factors such as age, tumor stage, cancer treatment, peritumoral vascular invasion, or use of other antihypertensive drugs, antithrombotics, or statins.
This study suggests that beta blockers may improve prognosis among postmenopausal women with early-stage triple-negative breast cancer. But because this study was observational (and not a randomized clinical trial), it does not prove that beta blockers affect cancer outcomes. The researchers attempted to account for the many ways in which women on beta blockers could differ from other women, but it remains possible that some characteristic other than beta blocker use explains the better prognosis among women those women. Additional research on the effects of beta blockers is warranted.