Today, an article in the Daily Mail suggests taking beta blockers could extend the lives of women with ovarian cancer by up to four years.
Beta blockers are most commonly prescribed for high blood pressure and heart problems. The study looked at health records of 1,400 women with ovarian cancer, and discovered that those who were taking a specific form of beta blockers for other health complaints survived for longer on average.
Dr Simon Newman, Director of Research for Target Ovarian Cancer, said: “We welcome this new research, which suggests a certain type of beta blocker may significantly increase survival in women with the most common form of ovarian cancer. It has found that those women with ovarian cancer who took beta blockers that blocked all stress receptors (so called non-selective beta blockers) during chemotherapy had an average survival advantage of just over 50 months compared to women not taking any form of beta blocker. Previous studies have linked stress, such as lack of support, to a decrease in survival rates in cancer patients which supports the findings of this paper.
“This large retrospective clinical study may be the first to clearly show how blocking aspects of the stress response can see an increase in survival for ovarian cancer. There are limitations to this study, however, and more trials will need to be done before there is a definitive link. But this exciting study shows how we can learn more about ovarian cancer from existing drugs used for other illnesses, and we may be able to open up new treatment options for ovarian cancer.”