Association between use of β-blockers and prostate cancer-specific survival: a cohort study of 3561 prostate cancer patients with high-risk or metastatic disease

Eur Urol. 2014 Mar;65(3):635-41. doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2013.01.007. Epub 2013 Jan 14.


Background: We recently reported reduced prostate cancer (PCa)-specific mortality for β-blocker users among patients receiving androgen-deprivation therapy in a health survey cohort including 655 PCa patients. Information on clinical characteristics was limited.

Objective: To assess the association between β-blockers and PCa-specific mortality in a cohort of 3561 prostate cancer patients with high-risk or metastatic disease, and to address potential confounding from the use of statins or acetylsalicylic acid (ASA).

Design, setting, and participants: Clinical information from all men reported to the Cancer Registry of Norway with a PCa diagnosis between 2004 and 2009 (n=24 571) was coupled with information on filled prescriptions between 2004 and 2011 from the Norwegian Prescription Database. Exclusion criteria were low- or intermediate-risk disease; planned radiotherapy or radical prostatectomy; initiation of β-blocker, ASA, or statin use after diagnosis where applicable; missing information on baseline Gleason score, prostate-specific antigen level, T stage or performance status; and missing follow-up.

Outcome measurements and statistical analysis: Cox proportional hazards modelling and competing risk regression modelling were used to analyse the effects of β-blocker use on all-cause and PCa-specific mortality, respectively. Differences between β-blocker users and nonusers regarding baseline clinical characteristics were assessed by the Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney U test, Pearson chi-square test, and Student t test.

Results and limitations: Median follow-up was 39 mo. β-Blocker use was associated with reduced PCa mortality (adjusted subhazard ratio: 0.79; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.68-0.91; p value: 0.001). The observed reduction in PCa mortality was independent of the use of statins or ASA. We observed no association with all-cause mortality (adjusted hazard ratio: 0.92; 95% CI, 0.83-1.02). The main limitations of the study were the observational study design and short follow-up.

Conclusions: β-Blocker use was associated with reduced PCa-specific mortality in patients with high-risk or metastatic disease at the time of diagnosis. Our findings need validation from further observational studies.

Keywords: ASA; Epidemiology; High-risk prostate cancer; Metastasis; Norway; Prostate cancer; Prostate cancer–specific mortality; Statin; β-Adrenergic receptor antagonist; β-Blocker.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Aged
  • Aspirin / therapeutic use
  • Cohort Studies
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Risk Assessment
  • Survival Rate


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Aspirin