Clinical Trials

The James Cancer Center Columbus, OH

open for enrollment

Propranolol Hydrochloride in Treating Patients With Locally Recurrent or Metastatic Solid Tumors That Cannot Be Removed By Surgery

Protocol: OSU-13023

Full Title

A Pilot Study of Beta-Blockers in Patients with Advanced Cancer


This pilot trial studies propranolol hydrochloride in treating patients with locally recurrent or metastatic solid tumors that cannot be removed by surgery. Propranolol hydrochloride may slow the growth of tumor cells by blocking the use of hormones by the tumor cells.

Study Objective


I. To determine the feasibility and tolerability of beta-adrenergic blockade in patients with metastatic cancer.

II. To determine the effects of beta-adrenergic blockade on the tumor microenvironment and host immune system via a series of correlative laboratory studies using cancer tumor tissue and peripheral blood mononuclear cells from the study patients.


I. Evaluate the effects of beta-adrenergic blockade on progression-free survival and overall survival.


Patients receive propranolol hydrochloride orally (PO) twice daily (BID) for 4 months in the absence of disease progression or unacceptable toxicity.

After completion of study treatment, patients are followed up every 3 months for up to 1 year.

Are you eligible?

Inclusion Criteria:

Patients must have histologically-proven locally-recurrent or metastatic solid tumor; the first 10 patients may have cancer of any histology; preference will be given to patients with metastatic ovarian cancer, breast cancer, and malignant melanoma, as these malignancies have been shown to be sensitive to manipulation of the beta-adrenergic receptor; the final twenty-five patients to be accrued must have locally-recurrent or metastatic malignant melanoma that is not surgically resectable

Patients may have had any number of prior systemic therapies; patients need not have exhausted standard therapy for their disease, but must be stable and must not have actively progressing

Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status =< 2

Karnofsky >= 60%

Life expectancy of greater than 6 months

Leukocytes >= 3,000/mcL

Absolute neutrophil count >= 1,500/mcL

Platelets >= 100,000/mcL

Total bilirubin within normal institutional limits

Aspartate aminotransferase (AST)(serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase [SGOT])/alanine aminotransferase (ALT)(serum glutamate pyruvate transaminase [SGPT]) =< 2.5 X institutional upper limit of normal

Creatinine within normal institutional limits OR

Creatinine clearance >= 60 mL/min/1.73 m^2 for patients with creatinine levels above institutional normal

Women of child-bearing potential and men must agree to use adequate contraception (hormonal or barrier method of birth control; abstinence) prior to study entry and for the duration of study participation; should a woman become pregnant or suspect she is pregnant while participating in this study, she should inform her treating physician immediately

Ability to understand and the willingness to sign a written informed consent document

Patients with brain metastases may participate in this clinical study provided that symptoms have been controlled with standard therapies and/or appropriate medications; the principal investigator (P.I.) will carefully evaluate the suitability of patient participation when brain metastases are present

Exclusion Criteria:

Patients who have had chemotherapy or radiotherapy within 4 weeks (6 weeks for nitrosoureas or mitomycin C) prior to entering the study or those who have not recovered from adverse events due to agents administered more than 4 weeks earlier

Patients may not be receiving any other investigational agents

History of allergic reactions attributed to compounds of similar chemical or biologic composition to propranolol

Uncontrolled hypertension

Uncontrolled intercurrent illness including, but not limited to, ongoing or active infection, symptomatic congestive heart failure, unstable angina pectoris, cardiac arrhythmia, or psychiatric illness/social situations that would limit compliance with study requirements

Patients with significant lung disease, an ejection fraction less than 40%, or a resting heart rate less than 60/min will not be enrolled

Pregnant women are excluded from this study because propranolol is an agent with the potential for teratogenic or abortifacient effects

Patients who are currently receiving a beta-blocker for another medical condition will be excluded from this study; patients with extremes of blood pressure (e.g., systolic blood pressure [SBP] > 150 or < 100) may be excluded from participation if the treating physician feels that this medical condition has not been adequately addressed by the patient’s primary care physician

Patients with worsening depression that has not been addressed clinically will be excluded from this study