In the United Kingdom and across the globe, researchers are excited about the prospect that a common blood pressure medication may halt the spread of Breast Cancer in patients. The Cancer experts are looking to host a major study to evaluate the potential of beta blockers to stop the spread of the deadly disease.
The results of data from over 700 patients in the UK show promise that the drugs have had an impact on patients. Patients with breast cancer that previously had beta blockers showed one half the incidence of their cancer spreading as women that had not had the medication. Cancer that spreads from the initial area to surrounding tissue carries a higher potential for mortality than those whose cancer has not spread.
Patients with breast cancer have seen the spread of the disease to other parts of the body in about 30 percent of the patients. These 30% account for greater than 85% of the deaths that result from breast cancer, so the findings from the initial studies show promising results.
The United Kingdom plans the extensive study to evaluate the potential effects of beta blockers on the spread of cancer from the Breast into surrounding tissues. The cancer study will evaluate approximately 30,000 patients and expects results next year. Early work on beta blocker show that cancer related deaths decreased by approximately 70%. The researchers hope that the beta blockers will stop the cells from moving which will inhibit the spread of cancer cells.
This study of how blood pressure medication affects breast cancer has had similar results around the world. In Ireland, women that were taking a beta blocker, propranolol were much less likely to have advanced breast cancer than those not on the drug. Women given the drug after diagnosis also fared better. After five years, only nine percent had died compared to twenty seven percent that were not taking the drug.
The doctors at MD Anderson in Houston examined the tumors of women having surgery and did not see an appreciable difference between those on beta blocker and those that were not, however, the women on beta blockers fared better afterward. After three years, eighty seven percent of those on the drugs were alive compared to seventy seven percent not taking the meds. As beta blockers are already a known drug, this development has the potential to save a large number of lives.