Can a Beta Blocker Help Fight Cancer Recurrence? Interview with:

Dr Pan Pantziarka, PhD Scientist: Anticancer Fund ( Coordinator: Repurposing Drugs in Oncology (

Dr Pan Pantziarka

Dr Pan Pantziarka, PhD
Scientist: Anticancer Fund (
Coordinator: Repurposing Drugs in Oncology ( What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: This study is part of the Repurposing Drugs in Oncology (ReDO) project to look at a series of non-cancer drugs which have strong evidence of anti-cancer effects. Other drugs have included the antacid cimetidine, the antibiotic clarithromycin and the NSAID diclofenac.

The data for propranolol comes from multiple sources: epidemiological data and retrospective data from cancer patients who have also been treated concurrently with propranolol, pre-clinical work in vitro and in animal models and from case series reports in which cancer patients have had propranolol added to their existing treatments.

The main findings are that propranolol has multiple mechanisms of action, including anti-proliferative and immunomodulation. There is particularly strong evidence that shows that propranolol has potent effects in the treatment of the rare soft-tissue sarcoma angiosarcoma. It is also suggested that when used at the time of surgery, propranolol in combination with a COX-2 inhibitor, can reduce the risk of metastatic spread. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: The main point is that there is a wide range of evidence for an anti-cancer effect when propranolol is combined with existing cancer treatments. The potential is there for a positive impact on the risk of recurrence and metastatic spread, and that reducing the risk may ultimately mean saving lives. The data for angiosarcoma, a cancer with poor outcomes when it has advanced, is compelling enough to warrant clinical trials immediately. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: A number of clinical trials are on-going or due to begin, in a range of cancer types. In addition to the work in angiosarcoma, there is a strong case to focus attention on the use of propranolol with surgical resection. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Repurposing Drugs in Oncology (ReDO)—Propranolol as an anti-cancer agent
Pan Pantziarka, Gauthier Bouche, Vidula Sukhatme, Lydie Meheus, Ilse Rooman and Vikas P Sukhatme
ecancer 10 680 / DOI: 10.3332/ecancer.2016.680

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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