14-Jan-13 8:00 AM  CST

Beta Blockers May Help Lung Cancer Survivors Live A Longer Life

There is new research on the horizon that beta blockers may increase the survival rate of lung cancer patients.  The latest news comes from a report published in the January 9th Annals of Oncology.  Senior author of the study, Dr. Daniel Gomez, MD, and Assistant professor at the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Center in Houston and his team of researchers compared more than 700 patients being treated with radiation therapy for lung cancer.  The patients were also taking beta blockers for their heart conditions.  Here are some of the results of the beta blocker and lung cancer study.    

· The researchers found that the 155 lung cancer patients who were taking beta blockers for heart issues lived two years longer than patients (on an average) of 18.6 months of patients who were not taking beta blockers.  Beta blockers helped improve survival and kept lung cancer from spreading to various other parts of the patient’s body. 

· The heart medication did not make a difference in lengths of survival without the lung cancer spreading to other parts of the patient’s lungs where the cancer originally started. 

· Researchers speculate that beta blockers work by suppressing a common hormone called norepinephrine.  Norepinephrine is known to speed rates of cancer cells. 

Recently Dr. Gomez commented on the recent study.  “Right now, we would not advocate that patients take beta blockers for this purpose, until these findings can be validated by prospective trials,” said Gomez.  “In addition, future studies will help us to understand if the mechanism that we propose is correct, and thus if beta blockers are indeed directly affecting the aggressiveness of this cancer or if these findings are due to the activation or inhibition of another pathway,” also said Gomez. 

Pharmacy technicians can learn a great deal from this study and may wish to share the newfound information with their fellow pharmacy technicians and pharmacist. 

1. Healthfinder.Gov Reports.  “Common Heart Drug Might Improve Lung Caner Survival.”  Heathfinder.gov.  Web.  9 Jan 2013. 

2. Chustecka, Zosia.  “Lung Cancer Patients On Beta Blockers Live Longer.” Medscape.  Web.  9 Jan 2013. 

3. Daily Rx Reports.  “Beta Blockers Help Block Cancer Spread.”  Daily Rx.  Web.  8 Jan 2013.

For additional information on this article, please contact:
Jennifer S. O'Reilly
Source: NPTAnews  

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