To study whether use of ß-blockers increases survival in patients with malignant melanoma because experimental data suggest that catecholamine hormones may be involved in stimulating the aggressiveness of malignant melanoma.
A total of 4,179 patients diagnosed with malignant melanoma in Denmark with a median follow-up of 4.9 years and identified in the Danish Cancer Registry participated. Data on ß-blocker use, comorbidity, and survival were obtained from medical and administrative databases. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate HRs for all-cause mortality with 95% CIs with adjustment for prognostic factors.
A total of 372 (8.9%) patients with malignant melanoma were treated with ß-blockers within 90 days of melanoma diagnosis. The median ß-blocker duration for exposure within 90 days of melanoma diagnosis, more than 90 days, and no prior exposure was 7.6, 1.4, and 0 years, respectively. The patients receiving ß-blockers were older, had more comorbidities, and more cardiovascular and psychotropic drug user than the patients receiving no ß-blockers prior to melanoma diagnosis. After adjustment for age and comorbidity index, the HR for melanoma death was 0.87 (95% CI: 0.64-1.20) and for all-cause mortality was 0.81 (95% CI: 0.67-0.97).
Increased survival time of patients with melanoma receiving ß-blockers suggests that this class of drugs may hold promise in treatment strategy for these patients.
The observations described here suggest that catecholamines may retard melanoma progression and that ß-blockers may have unrecognized potential as a therapeutic intervention for melanoma.
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