Beta-blockers 'could be used for breast cancer treatment'

3 October 2011

Beta-blockers could end up being used as a breast cancer treatment, thanks to positive early results from a British-led research programme.

Scientists from Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust have worked alongside experts from Belfast and Germany to investigate the potential for beta-blockers to prevent the spread of the disease following cancer diagnosis.

While the drugs are routinely used to address high blood pressure and anxiety problems, people with a breast cancer diagnosis who take them during regular treatment appear to be less likely to suffer from a recurrence.

Dr Des Powe, a Cancer Research UK-funded scientist from Nottingham, who is collaborating on the new study, said stopping the spread of cancer following diagnosis is a vital part of treatment and extends people's life expectancy.

He noted: "This study will be sufficiently large to determine whether we should progress to clinical trials and identify which type of beta-blockers have the strongest effect."

The announcement comes as Breast Cancer Awareness Month gets underway, incorporating a variety of headline-grabbing events to boost the profile of the condition, including a show at London Fashion Week.

Posted by Edward Bartel

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