Researchers from University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have conducted a study according to which heart drugs may be good against ovarian cancer. Drugs used to treat various diseases such as abnormal heart rate, high blood pressure, migraines and anxiety contain beta-blockers which prevents the epinephrine (adrenaline) from acting.
According to this study beta-blockers have anti-cancer properties as well. In order to verify this the research team led by Dr. Anil Sood from University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center analyzed the medical records of 1.426 women who suffered from epithelial ovarian cancer. The median age of the participants was 63 years old and overall their ages varied between 21 to 93 years old. 269 of the participants received in most of the cases beta-blockers for high blood pressure at the same time when they underwent cancer treatment as well.
Ovarian cancer does not usually occur among women who are younger than 40. The risk factors for this disease are obesity, older age, first complete pregnancy after the age of 35 and never having carried a pregnancy. As it name shows the disease affects the ovaries, that is women’s reproductive glands that produce eggs. Ovarian cancer accounts for the largest number of deaths of any other types of cancer that affect the female reproductive system.
The findings of the research indicate that irrespective of the type of beta-blocker the women who received them had a median survival rate of 47.8 months whereas women who did not receive beta blockers had a median survival rate of 42 months. The researchers observed that women who took nonselective beta-blockers were the ones who experienced the best results.
Dr. Anil Sood commented on the study:
Particularly interesting is the finding that beta-blocker users in the current study were diagnosed at a higher stage of disease, had an increased average BMI, and were more likely to be hypertensive. All these factors were associated with decreased survival, yet those who received beta-blockers had either equivalent or improved overall survival.”
Previous studies have also showed that beta-blockers have a beneficial influence of cancer patients. However those studies were too small; this new was conducted on a larger sample population. It is only natural that any drug which increases patients’ survival is of great interest to scientists, but the researchers warned that more research needs to be conducted.
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