• ovarian cancer;
  • beta-blockers;
  • survival;
  • selective;
  • nonselective


Preclinical evidence has suggested that sustained adrenergic activation can promote ovarian cancer growth and metastasis. The authors examined the impact of beta-adrenergic blockade on the clinical outcome of women with epithelial ovarian, primary peritoneal, or fallopian tube cancers (collectively, epithelial ovarian cancer [EOC]).


A multicenter review of 1425 women with histopathologically confirmed EOC was performed. Comparisons were made between patients with documented beta-blocker use during chemotherapy and those without beta-blocker use.


The median age of patients in the current study was 63 years (range, 21-93 years). The sample included 269 patients who received beta-blockers. Of those, 193 (71.7%) were receiving beta-1–adrenergic receptor selective agents, and the remaining patients were receiving nonselective beta antagonists. The primary indication for beta-blocker use was hypertension but also included arrhythmia and postmyocardial infarction management. For patients receiving any beta-blocker, the median overall survival (OS) was 47.8 months versus 42 months for nonusers (P =.04). The median OS based on beta-blocker receptor selectivity was 94.9 months for those receiving nonselective beta-blockers versus 38 months for those receiving beta-1–adrenergic receptor selective agents (P<.001). Hypertension was associated with decreased OS compared with no hypertension across all groups. However, even among patients with hypertension, a longer median OS was observed among users of a nonselective beta-blocker compared with nonusers (38.2 months vs 90 months; P<.001).


Use of nonselective beta-blockers in patients with EOC was associated with longer OS. These findings may have implications for new therapeutic approaches. Cancer 2015;121:3435–43. © 2015 American Cancer Society.