Triple negative breast cancer is a rare form of breast cancer comprising 15-20% of breast cancer cases. An Australian study has found that commonly prescribed beta blockers may be able to slow the growth of this aggressive form of breast cancer. One reason why this form of breast cancer is particularly difficult to treat is that the cancer tumour cells do not have the receptors which are used in current breast cancer treatment.
Adrenaline is released when the body is under stress and has been seen to accelerate growth and spread of some cancers. Triple negative breast cancer tumour cells have receptors on their surfaces which adrenaline binds to. This is the same site that beta blockers bind. The researchers found that when beta blockers were bound to this receptor, the cancer tumour cells decreased their growth and spread.
Dr. Thoru Pederson, editor of The FASEB Journal commented, "not only does this shed light on how to potentially improve the effectiveness of triple negative cancer treatment, but it also sheds a light on the full effect that these common drugs have on our body."
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