« | Home | »

Beta-blockers Might Boost Melanoma Survival

By jeremyc | January 7, 2018

Of all the types of skin cancers, melanoma is the most dangerous—although it is not very common. Immunotherapy is recognized as an effective treatment against melanoma, especially when the cancer is in advanced stage. However, not all patients get full benefit from this treatment. In a new study, scientists probe whether immunotherapy can be made more effective by combining it with beta-blockers.

Immunotherapy make changes in the immune system of the patient, helping it deal with cancer cells better. Most experts are of the opinion that it is the best treatment right now for melanoma.

But the problem is that it doesn’t work for every melanoma patient. At present, there’s a lot of focus on how immunotherapy can be made effective and its side effects minimized.

Beta blockers are used for managing abnormal heart rhythm. However, they can also boost immune function. Further, beta blockers are also frequently used for treating stress, which in turn can affect cancer treatment. Because of these reasons, the scientists decided to check how a combination of immunotherapy and beta blockers works in treating melanoma.

For this study, the researchers first analyzed existing data on survival rates. They checked data of 195 patients with metastasized melanoma who were given immunotherapy between 2000-2015. Out of these 195 patients, 62 also used beta blockers, either pan beta-blockers (like propranolol) or beta-1 selective blockers.

The researchers noted that the 5-year survival rate among the group that used immunotherapy in combination with pan beta-blockers was 70 percent compared to 25 percent among those who used only immunotherapy or used immunotherapy with beta-1 selective blockers.

Next, the researchers tested this in mice with melanoma. They again noticed that survival rate improved substantially when immunotherapy was used in combination with pan beta-block

Topics: | Cancer | No Comments »

Comments are closed.