Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Blood pressure drugs may lengthen lives of melanoma patients

Date:
September 22, 2011
Source:
Ohio State University
Summary:
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 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.

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.

Related Articles


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 tumor-enhancing molecules. Similar work by other scientists showed similar results with ovarian cancer tissues.

Then the team turned to Stanley Lemeshow, a professor and dean of the College of Public Health at Ohio State. Lemeshow had previously partnered with colleagues in Denmark and knew that country had a vast database of patient information, including records of all Danish cancer patients for decades, as well as pharmacy records of all drugs prescribed for those patients.

"These databases can be linked together and by doing so, you have the ability to find patients with melanoma who had previously been prescribed beta-blockers," Lemeshow said.

The researchers looked at melanoma patients who had taken beta-blockers and at those who hadn't to determine whether the former group exhibited longer survival.

"Among patients diagnosed with melanoma, those who were taking beta-blockers when their cancer was diagnosed experienced longer survival than those patients who weren't taking the drug," Lemeshow said.

"Their chance of surviving for a specified number of years improved by 13 percent."

When the researcher looked at all causes of death among melanoma patients -- not just melanoma -- their chances of survival were improved by 19 percent.

"We're talking about survival time, here. They simply lived longer."

Eric Yang, an associate member of the IBMR and assistant research professor of internal medicine, said that epinephrine and norepinephrine may stimulate, or induce, the production of these tumor-promoting molecules.

"The idea is that if you treat a patient with beta-blockers, then you can counteract 'epi' and 'norepi' and lower the amounts of those molecules that induce tumor progression, perhaps halting it," Yang said.

That's the idea behind the clinical trial the researchers hope to begin soon.

"That's what has us so excited," Glaser explained. "This drug is relatively inexpensive. It isn't chemotherapy so you don't lose your hair or get sick. It doesn't kill the cancer cells, but it may slow the disease.

"This would be adjunct therapy that could be provided in addition to the normal chemotherapy patients receive."

"So far, we've found an association between beta-blocker use and survival time for melanoma patients," Lemeshow said. "The clinical trial should give us even stronger evidence."

The research was supported in part by the National Cancer Institute and Ohio State's Comprehensive Cancer Center. Also working on the research were Gary Phillips, Gregory Lesinski and Rebecca Jackson, all at Ohio State; Henrik Toft Sorensen, Sussie Antonsen and Anders Riis of Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ohio State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Stanley Lemeshow, Henrik Toft Sψrensen, Gary Phillips, Eric V. Yang, Sussie Antonsen, Anders H. Riis, Gregory B. Lesinski, Rebecca Jackson, and Ronald Glaser. β-Blockers and Survival among Danish Patients with Malignant Melanoma: A Population-Based Cohort Study. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, September 20, 2011 DOI: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-11-0249

Cite This Page:

Ohio State University. "Blood pressure drugs may lengthen lives of melanoma patients." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110920133213.htm>.
Ohio State University. (2011, September 22). Blood pressure drugs may lengthen lives of melanoma patients. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110920133213.htm
Ohio State University. "Blood pressure drugs may lengthen lives of melanoma patients." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110920133213.htm (accessed November 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

UN Says It Will Scale Up Its Ebola Response

UN Says It Will Scale Up Its Ebola Response

AFP (Nov. 20, 2014) — UN Resident Coordinator David McLachlan-Karr and WHO representative in the country Daniel Kertesz updated the media on the UN Ebola response on Wednesday. Duration: 00:51 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Takata Offers "sincerest Condolences" To Victims of Malfunctioning Airbag

Takata Offers "sincerest Condolences" To Victims of Malfunctioning Airbag

Reuters - US Online Video (Nov. 20, 2014) — U.S. Congress hears from a victim and company officials as it holds a hearing on the safety of Takata airbags after reports of injuries. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obesity Costs Almost As Much As War And Terrorism

Obesity Costs Almost As Much As War And Terrorism

Newsy (Nov. 20, 2014) — The newest estimate of the cost of obesity is pretty jarring — $2 trillion. But how did researchers get to that number? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Calling All Men: Here's Your Chance to Experience Labor Pains

Calling All Men: Here's Your Chance to Experience Labor Pains

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 20, 2014) — Chinese hospital offers men a chance to experience the pain of child birth via electric shocks. Sharon Reich reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins