In recent years, researchers have considered a potential link between beta-blockers and a decreased risk of cancer. This theory stems from the fact that beta-blockers inhibit the actions of the stress hormone norepinephrine. This, along with studies that found norepinephrine can promote the growth and spread of cancer cells, led researchers to reason that the beta-blockers could have anticancer properties.
However, a recent study published early online in Cancer revealed that the use of beta-blockers showed no reduction of colorectal cancer risk.
To provide more thorough information on the effects of beta-blockers on colorectal cancer risk, Michael Hoffmeister, PhD, of the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, Germany, and colleagues conducted interviews with 1762 patients with colorectal cancer and 1708 cancer-free individuals from 2003 to 2007.
The researchers found no link between beta-blocker use and colorectal cancer risk, even after taking into account patient characteristics like weight, smoking status, and other factors that might influence the results. In an evaluation of the analyses by duration of use of beta-blockers, specific types of beta-blockers, active ingredients (metoprolol, bisoprolol, carvedilol, and atenolol), and sites within the colon or rectum where colorectal cancer developed, researchers still did not discovered a link. Therefore, study results do not support the suggestion that the use of beta-blockers can reduce colorectal cancer risk.