Beta-blockers have no impact on survival in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma prior to cancer diagnosis

Anthony Yang, Haley M. Zylberberg, Sheila D. Rustgi, Sunil P. Amin, Ariel Bar-Mashiah, Paolo Boffetta, Aimee L. Lucas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Previous studies have suggested that β-adrenergic signaling may regulate the growth of various cancers. The aim of our study is to investigate the association between the incidental use of beta-blockers for various conditions on the overall survival of patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Patients with histologically-confirmed PDAC between 2007 and 2011 were extracted from Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results registry (SEER)-Medicare linked database. Kaplan Meier and multivariable Cox Proportional-Hazard models were used to examine the association between beta-blocker usage before diagnosis and overall survival adjusting for appropriate confounders. As an additional analysis we also examined continuous beta-blocker use before and after diagnosis. From 2007 to 2011, 13,731 patients were diagnosed with PDAC. Of these, 7130 patients had Medicare Part D coverage in the 6-month period before diagnosis, with 2564 (36%) of these patients using beta-blockers in this period. Patients receiving beta-blockers had a mean survival time of 5.1 months compared to 6 months for non-users (p < 0.01). In multivariable analysis, beta-blockers usage was not associated with improved survival (Hazard Ratio (HR) 1.04, 95%, Confidence Interval (CI) 0.98–1.1, p = 0.2). When patients were stratified by conditions with indications for beta-blocker usage, such as hypertension, coronary artery disease and cardiac arrhythmia, differences in survival were insignificant compared to non-users in all groups (p > 0.05). After stratification by receptor selectivity, this lack of association with survival persisted (p > 0.05 for all). As a subgroup analysis, looking at patients with continuous Medicare Part D coverage who used beta-blockers in the 6-month period before and after cancer diagnosis, we identified 7085 patients, of which 1750 (24.7%) had continuous beta blocker use. In multivariable analysis, continuous beta-blockers usage was associated with improved survival (Hazard Ratio (HR) 0.86, 95%, Confidence Interval (CI) 0.8–0.9, p < 0.01). Beta-blocker usage before diagnosis does not confer a survival advantage in patients with PDAC, though continuous use before and after diagnosis did confer a survival advantage. Prospective studies into the mechanism for this advantage are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1038
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Beta-blockers have no impact on survival in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma prior to cancer diagnosis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this