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Patients with stage T2 multilesion angiosarcomas of the scalp and face that are larger than 10 cm demonstrate a 2-year survival rate of 0%. To our knowledge, major therapeutic advances against this disease have not been reported for decades. Preclinical data indicate that blocking β-adrenergic signaling with propranolol hydrochloride disrupts angiosarcoma cell survival and xenograft angiosarcoma progression.
A patient presented with a β-adrenergic–positive multifocal stage T2 cutaneous angiosarcoma (≥20 cm) involving 80% of the scalp, left forehead, and left cheek, with no evidence of metastasis. The patient was immediately administered propranolol hydrochloride, 40 mg twice a day, as his workup progressed and treatment options were elucidated. Evaluation of the proliferative index of the tumor before and after only 1 week of propranolol monotherapy revealed a reduction in the proliferative index of the tumor by approximately 34%. A combination of propranolol hydrochloride, 40 mg 3 times a day, paclitaxel, 2 mg/m2 infused weekly, and radiotherapy during the subsequent 8 months resulted in extensive tumor regression with no detectable metastases.
Conclusions and Relevance
Our data suggest that β-blockade alone substantially reduced angiosarcoma proliferation and, in combination with standard therapy, is effective for reducing the size of the tumor and preventing metastases. If successful, β-blockade could be the first major advancement in the treatment of angiosarcoma in decades.
Chow W, Amaya CN, Rains S, Chow M, Dickerson EB, Bryan BA. Growth Attenuation of Cutaneous Angiosarcoma With Propranolol-Mediated β-Blockade. JAMA Dermatol. 2015;151(11):1226–1229. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2015.2554
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