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Abstract | Full HTML Article | PDF ecancer 10 680 / https://doi.org/10.3332/ecancer.2016.680

Clinical Study

Repurposing Drugs in Oncology (ReDO)—Propranolol as an anti-cancer agent

Propranolol (PRO) is a well-known and widely used non-selective beta-adrenergic receptor antagonist (beta-blocker), with a range of actions which are of interest in an oncological context. PRO displays effects on cellular proliferation and invasion, on the immune system, on the angiogenic cascade, and on tumour cell sensitivity to existing treatments. Both pre-clinical and clinical evidence of these effects, in multiple cancer types, is assessed and summarised and relevant mechanisms of action outlined. In particular there is evidence that PRO is effective at multiple points in the metastatic cascade, particularly in the context of the post-surgical wound response. Based on this evidence the case is made for further clinical investigation of the anticancer effects of PRO, particularly in combination with other agents. A number of trials are on-going, in different treatment settings for various cancers.

Keywords: Propranolol, beta-blockers, drug repurposing, ReDO project

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Author interviews

Pan Pantziarka and Lydie Meheus

Anticancer Fund, Belgium

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Founding partners

European Cancer Organisation European Institute of Oncology

Founding Charities

Foundazione Umberto Veronesi Fondazione IEO Swiss Bridge

Published by

ecancer Global Foundation