Blood Pressure Medicine for Melanoma?

For patients with melanoma, use of a widely known blood pressure medication (propranolol) was associated with reduced risk of recurrence, according to a study published online Sept. 28 in JAMA Oncology.

Vincenzo De Giorgi, M.D., from the University of Florence in Italy, and colleagues conducted a prospective study involving melanoma patients treated with propranolol for off-label use. Patients with skin melanoma and no evidence of metastases were asked to take propranolol as an additional treatment at the time of diagnosis.  In addition to treatment with propranolol, patients received standard therapy including surgical therapy.  Nineteen patients agreed to take propranolol and 34 patients did not take propranolol.

The researchers found that the use of propranolol at the time of diagnosis was significantly inversely linked to melanoma recurrence after adjustment for known prognostic factors, with about an 80 percent reduction in risk for propranolol users.  The authors of the study wrote "These results confirm recent observation that β-blockers protect patients with thick cutaneous melanoma from disease recurrence.  Repurposing the vast arsenal of approved drugs with a nononcology primary purpose may prove an attractive and inexpensive strategy for offering more effective treatment options to patients with cancer."