Beta-Blocker Therapy for ?1 Year Reduces Mortality in Malignant Melanoma

June 2011, Vol 2, No 3 -

The association between beta-blocker therapy and the overall risk for cancer has not been well investigated. One earlier study suggested that betablockers may reduce the risk for prostate cancer, and preclinical trial findings indicate that beta-blockers inhibit tumor growth and metastasis in melanoma. 

New results have demonstrated for the first time that taking beta-blockers for ≥1 year is associated with improved outcomes in thick malignant melanoma (De Giorgi V, et al. Arch Intern Med. 2011;171:779-781).

Researchers prospectively reviewed clinical records from 1993 through 2009 of all patients with histologically confirmed malignant melanoma (Breslow thickness >1 mm). Patients who used beta-blockers for ≥1 year were considered to have undergone treatment.

Of 121 patients with a thick melanoma, 30 had been receiving beta-blocker therapy for ≥1 year. After a median follow-up of 2.5 years, tumor progression occurred in 3.3% of patients taking beta-blockers and in 34.1% of those not taking the drugs. A Cox model indicated a 36% risk reduction for every 1 year of beta-blocker use. No deaths occurred in patients taking beta-blockers compared with 24 deaths in those not taking beta-blockers.

Beta-blocker therapy for >1 year significantly reduced the risk for death from thick melanoma.