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J Clin Oncol. 2011 Jul 1;29(19):2645-52. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2010.33.4441. Epub 2011 May 31.

Beta-blocker use is associated with improved relapse-free survival in patients with triple-negative breast cancer.

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  • 1The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, 77030, USA.



To examine the association between beta-blocker (BB) intake, pathologic complete response (pCR) rates, and survival outcomes in patients with breast cancer treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy.


We retrospectively reviewed 1,413 patients with breast cancer who received neoadjuvant chemotherapy between 1995 and 2007. Patients taking BBs at the start of neoadjuvant therapy were compared with patients with no BB intake. Rates of pCR between the groups were compared using a χ² test. Cox proportional hazards models were fitted to determine the association between BB intake, relapse-free survival (RFS), and overall survival (OS).


Patients who used BBs (n = 102) were compared with patients (n = 1,311) who did not. Patients receiving BBs tended to be older and obese (P < .001). The proportion of pCR was not significantly different between the groups (P = .48). After adjustment for age, race, stage, grade, receptor status, lymphovascular invasion, body mass index, diabetes, hypertension, and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor use, BB intake was associated with a significantly better RFS (hazard ratio [HR], 0.52; 95% CI, 0.31 to 0.88) but not OS (P = .09). Among patients with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC; n = 377), BB intake was associated with improved RFS (HR, 0.30; 95% CI, 0.10 to 0.87;P = .027) but not OS (HR, 0.35; 95% CI, 0.12 to 1.00;P = .05).


In this study, BB intake was associated with improved RFS in all patients with breast cancer and in patients with TNBC. Additional studies evaluating the potential benefits of beta-adrenergic blockade on breast cancer recurrence with a focus on TNBC are warranted.

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