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PURPOSE: Beta blockers (BB) have been associated with improved, worsened, or unchanged breast cancer outcomes in previous studies. This study examines the association between the post-diagnostic use of BBs and death from breast cancer in a large, representative sample of New Zealand (NZ) women with breast cancer. METHODS: Women diagnosed with a first primary breast cancer between 2007 and 2016 were identified from four population-based regional NZ breast cancer registries and linked to national pharmaceutical data, hospital discharges, and death records. The median follow-up time was 4.51 years. Cox proportional hazard models were used to estimate the hazard of breast cancer-specific death (BCD) associated with any post-diagnostic BB use. RESULTS: Of the 14,976 women included in analyses, 21% used a BB after diagnosis. BB use (vs non-use) was associated with a small and nonstatistically significant increased risk of BCD (adjusted hazard ratio: 1.11; 95% CI 0.95-1.29). A statistically significant increased risk confined to short-term use (0-3 months) was seen (HR = 1.40; 1.14-1.73), and this risk steadily decreased with increasing duration of use and became a statistically significant protective effect at 3 + years of use (HR = 0.55; 0.34-0.88). CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that any increased risk associated with BB use may be driven by risk in the initial few months of use. Long-term BB use may be associated with a reduction in BCD.

Original publication




Journal article


Breast Cancer Res Treat

Publication Date





225 - 235


Beta blockers, Breast cancer, Cohort study, Mortality, Pharmacoepidemiology, Adrenergic beta-Antagonists, Breast Neoplasms, Cohort Studies, Female, Humans, Neoplasms, Second Primary, Proportional Hazards Models