This study was to elucidate the potential benefit of beta blockers on cancer survival.
We comprehensively searched PubMed, Embase, and the Cochrane Library from their inception to April 2013. Two authors independently screened and reviewed the eligibility of each study and coded the participants, treatment, and outcome characteristics. The primary outcomes were overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS).
Twelve studies published between 1993 and 2013 were included in the final analysis. Four papers reported results from 10 independent groups, resulting in a total of 18 comparisons based on data obtained from 20,898 subjects. Effect sizes (hazard ratios, HR) were heterogeneous, and random-effects models were used in the analyses. The meta-analysis demonstrated that beta blocker use is associated with improved OS (HR 0.79; 95 % CI 0.67–0.93; p = 0.004) and DFS (HR 0.69; 95 % CI 0.53–0.91; p = 0.009). Although statistically not significant, the effect size was greater in patients with low-stage cancer or cancer treated primarily with surgery than in patients with high-stage cancer or cancer treated primarily without surgery (HR 0.60 vs. 0.78, and 0.60 vs. 0.80, respectively). Although only two study codes were analyzed, the studies using nonselective beta blockers showed that there was no overall effect on OS (HR 0.52, 95 % CI 0.09–3.04).
This meta-analysis provides evidence that beta blocker use can be associated with the prolonged survival of cancer patients, especially patients with early-stage cancer treated primarily with surgery.
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Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (2013R1A1A2013629).
Conflict of interest
Chel Hun Choi, Taejong Song, Jeong-Won Lee, and Byoung-Gie Kim have contributed equally to this paper.
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Choi, C.H., Song, T., Kim, T.H. et al. Meta-analysis of the effects of beta blocker on survival time in cancer patients. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol 140, 1179–1188 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00432-014-1658-7
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