HealthDay News — For patients with melanoma, use of propranolol is associated with reduced risk of recurrence, according to a study published 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).

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).

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“These results confirm recent observation that β-blockers protect patients with thick cutaneous melanoma from disease recurrence,” the authors wrote. “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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De Giorgi V, Grazzini M, Benemei S, et al. Propranolol for off-label treatment of patients with melanoma: results from a cohort study [published online September 28, 2017]. JAMA Oncol. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2017.2908