Breast cancer medication risk

New research led by Flinders University has found a link between beta-blockers and survival outcomes in some breast cancer patients.

Beta-blockers, commonly used to manage cardiovascular disease, were negatively associated with survival outcomes in patients with HER2 (Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2) positive advanced breast cancer, according to a new paper in the Frontiers In Oncology.

Using data collected from 2,777 patients in clinical trials, the study showed worse survival outcomes for patients with HER2 positive ABC group using concomitant beta-blocker, compared to patients not using a BB.

“The research highlights a group of breast cancer patients whose survival outcomes are profoundly poorer,” says Professor of Clinical Pharmacology Michael Sorich, director of the Precision Medicine Group at Flinders University’s College of Medicine and Public Health

Professor of Clinical Pharmacology Michael Sorich

“Given about 20% of breast cancer patients overexpress HER2 – and cardiovascular toxicities are a known complication anti-HER2 therapies – this study importantly identifies a subgroup of patients in which we recommend further investigation to find strategies to improve treatment outcomes.”

The research concluded: “Future research should aim to gain a deeper understanding of the effects of beta-blockers on specific breast cancer subtypes, cancer types, and cancer treatments.”

The online article, The Influence of Pre-Existing Beta-Blockers Use on Survival Outcomes in HER2 Positive Advanced Breast Cancer: Pooled Analysis of Clinical Trial Data by ND Modi, JQE Tan, A Rowland, B Koczwara, G Kichenadasse, RA McKinnon, MD Wiese, MJ Sorich and AM Hopkins has been published in Frontiers In Oncology DOI: 10.3389/fonc.2020.01130

The study received support from the Cancer Council South Australia and National Breast Cancer Foundation.

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College of Medicine and Public Health Research