Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Common heart drug linked to longer survival in ovarian cancer

A very large ovarian cancer (in circle) as seen on CT
CANCER DIGEST – Sept. 2, 2015 – A common drug used to lower blood pressure has been linked to longer survival in women who underwent chemotherapy for ovarian cancer.

The study looked at the records of 1,425 women who had previously been treated for ovarian cancer, including 269 who were also taking a beta-blocker during chemotherapy. The study was published in the journal Cancer.

The results showed that the median overall survival for women taking any beta-blocker was 47.8 months compared with 42 months for non-users. A subgroup of patients treated with nonselective beta-blockers, however, had a median overall survival of 95 months versus 38 months for patients treated with beta-1 selective agents.

Non-selective beta-blockers include such brand names as: Blocadren, Levatol, Betapace, Visken, Corgard, Inderal, and InnoPran. These block both beta-1 and beta-2 receptors. Selective beta-blockers include such brand names as Lopressor, Toprol XL, Sectral and Zebeta, and block only beta 1 receptors.

Earlier studies had shown conflicting results with some showing a benefit to ovarian cancer patients taking beta-blockers and some showing no benefit. The authors of this study suggested that those conflicting results may be due to women being predominantly prescribed selective beta-blockers compared to the small numbers prescribed non-selective versions of the drugs. 

More research will be needed to verify any survival benefit for women treated with chemotherapy and beta-blockers. 

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