Treatment With B-Blockers and Reduced Disease Progression in Patients With Thick Melanoma

Hi there

I had never heard about this before but the stats are quite astounding. Let me know of you want a copy of the article.




Treatment With B-Blockers and Reduced Disease Progression in Patients With Thick Melanoma

Vincenzo De Giorgi, MD; Marta Grazzini, MD; Sara Gandini, PhD; Silvia Benemei, MD; Torello Lotti, MD; Niccolò Marchionni, MD; Pierangelo Geppetti, MD

Preclinical evidence shows that B-adrenoceptor antagonists (B-blockers) inhibit tumor and metastasis progression in animal models of melanoma. We hypothesized that the use of B-blockers for concomitant diseases is associated with a reduced risk of progression of thick (Breslow thickness >1 mm) malignant melanoma. Two patient subgroups were identified from the medical records of 121 consecutive patients with a thick melanoma. Of these, 30 patients had been prescribed B-blockers for 1 year or more (treated subgroup), whereas the other 91 were untreated. After a median follow-up time of 2.5 years, tumor progression was observed in 3.3% of the treated subgroup and in 34.1% of the untreated subgroup. The Cox model on progression indicated a 36% (95% confidence interval, 11%-54%) (P =.002) risk reduction for each year of B-blocker use. No deaths were observed in the treated group, whereas in the untreated group 24 patients died. To our knowledge, the present study suggests for the first time that exposure to B-blockers for 1 year or more is associated with a  reduced risk of progression of thick malignant melanoma, indicating the need for larger epidemiological studies and randomized clinical trials.

Arch Intern Med. 2011;171(8):779-78

  1. #1 by Luke Bookallil on December 14, 2011 - 6:38 am

    very interesting, hopefully someone will do bigger study. thanks luke b

  2. #2 by Hein Vandenbergh on December 14, 2011 - 7:51 am

    Question is ‘Why and how?’.

    A guess: beta-blockers are vasoconstrictors, esp small vessels in skin [Raynaud’s phenomenon on cold mornings in people taking them is something to behold!]. My feeling is this may be the most likely pharmacological reason.

    Thalidomide appeared to show a similar promise with solid, internal tumours, due to inhibition of vascular neogenesis, but after a while, most tumours outgrew that minor obstacle. However, melanoma being located in the dermis [where most betablocker vasoconstriction takes place] may well succumb to that nutritional deficiency.

    Of course, with less blood going in, there’s also a reduction in lymphatic flow.

    Very fascinating. Poor asthmatics……

    I’d love to have a copy of the whole article, Ian, to see if any postulate as to mechanism of action has been made. Dosage also must be critical, if I am halfway correct in my assumption.

    Thanks, as always/Hein

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