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Propranolol: A “Pick and Roll” Team Player in Benign Tumors and Cancer Therapies

September 2022


"Research on cancer therapies focuses on processes such as angiogenesis, cell signaling, stemness, metastasis, and drug resistance and inflammation, all of which are influenced by the cellular and molecular microenvironment of the tumor. Different strategies, such as antibodies, small chemicals, hormones, cytokines, and, recently, gene editing techniques, have been tested to reduce the malignancy and generate a harmful microenvironment for the tumor. Few therapeutic agents have shown benefits when administered alone, but a few more have demonstrated clear improvement when administered in combination with other therapeutic molecules. In 2008 (and for the first time in the clinic), the therapeutic benefits of the β-adrenergic receptor antagonist, propranolol, were described in benign tumors, such as infantile hemangioma. Propranolol, initially prescribed for high blood pressure, irregular heart rate, essential tremor, and anxiety, has shown, in the last decade, increasing evidence of its antitumoral properties in more than a dozen different types of cancer. Moreover, the use of propranolol in combination therapies with other drugs has shown synergistic antitumor effects. This review highlights the clinical trials in which propranolol is taking part as adjuvant therapy at single administration or in combinatorial human trials, arising as a good pick and roll partner in anticancer strategies."



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