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Gynecol Oncol. 2012 Nov;127(2):375-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2012.07.102. Epub 2012 Jul 20.

Impact of beta blockers on epithelial ovarian cancer survival.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA 90048, USA.



Stress may promote ovarian cancer progression through mechanisms including autonomic nervous system mediators such as norepinephrine and epinephrine. Beta blockers, used to treat hypertension, block production of these adrenergic hormones, and have been associated with prolonged survival in several malignancies. We sought to determine the association between beta blocker use and epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) disease progression and survival.


We performed an institutional retrospective review of patients with EOC treated between 1996 and 2006. Patients underwent cytoreductive surgery followed by platinum-based chemotherapy. Women were considered beta blocker users if these medications were documented on at least two records more than 6 months apart. Statistical tests included Fisher's exact, Kaplan-Meier, and Cox regression analyses.


248 met inclusion criteria. 68 patients used antihypertensives, and 23 used beta blockers. Median progression-free survival for beta blocker users was 27 months, compared with 17 months for non-users (p=0.05). Similarly, overall disease-specific survival was longer for beta blocker users (56 months) compared with non-users (48 months, p=0.02, hazard ratio=0.56). Multivariate analysis identified beta blocker use as an independent positive prognostic factor, after controlling for age, stage, grade, and cytoreduction status (p=0.03). Overall survival remained longer for beta blocker users (56 months) when compared with hypertensive patients on other medications (34 months) and patients without hypertension (51 months) (p=0.007).


In this cohort of patients with EOC, beta blocker use was associated with a 54% reduced chance of death compared with that of non-users.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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