HealthDay News — For patients with melanoma, use of propranolol is associated with reduced risk of recurrence, according to a study published online September 28 in JAMA Oncology.

Vincenzo De Giorgi, MD, 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 histologically confirmed stage IB and IIIA cutaneous melanoma and no evidence of metastases were asked to take propranolol as an off-label adjuvant treatment at the time of diagnosis. If they accepted, they were considered part of the propranolol cohort (19 patients); those who refused treatment but agreed to participate in the control group were considered part of the nonpropranolol cohort (34 patients). 

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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% reduction in risk for propranolol users (hazard ratio, 0.18).

“These results confirm recent observation that β-blockers protect patients with thick cutaneous melanoma from disease recurrence,” the authors write. “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.”

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