Studies: Bone drugs may help prevent breast cancer

Dec 10, 2009 By MARILYNN MARCHIONE , AP Medical Writer

(AP) -- New results from a large women's health study suggest that bone-building drugs such as Fosamax and Actonel might help prevent breast cancer.

Women who already were taking these medicines when the study began were nearly one-third less likely to develop over the next seven years. That's compared to women who were not on such pills.

The study by itself is not proof that these drugs can prevent cancer. More definitive studies should give a clearer picture in a year or two. Until then, doctors say women should only take these drugs if they have osteoporosis or other bone problems.

However, doctors are excited because it fits with other research last year that found one of these bisphosphonate drugs cut the chances that cancer would come back in women already treated for the disease.

"Now we're actually looking at this in the general population - healthy women who have never had breast cancer. And it looks like it's protective in those as well," said Dr. Peter Ravdin of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

"There's a strengthening story here," he said. "This is very promising."

The new results were presented Thursday at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. They come from more than 151,000 participants in the Women's Health Initiative, a study known for revealing previously unrecognized risks from taking estrogen and progestin pills after menopause.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: Synthetic lethality offers a new approach to kill tumor cells

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Breast cancer study halted

Jun 20, 2007

The U.S. National Cancer Institute halted a $100 million study of drugs designed to prevent breast cancer in women at risk for the disease.

Estrogen therapy increases benign breast disease risk

Apr 08, 2008

Women who took conjugated equine estrogen, a commonly prescribed form of estrogen, had more than twice the risk of developing specific types of benign breast disease as women who took a placebo, according to a randomized ...

Weight gain increases breast cancer risk

Jul 13, 2006

Women who gain weight as young adults have a greater risk of developing breast cancer after menopause than women who maintain or lose weight, a study says.

Some antidepressants may risk breast cancer return

May 31, 2009

(AP) -- Breast cancer survivors risk having their disease come back if they use certain antidepressants while also taking the cancer prevention drug tamoxifen, worrisome new research shows.

Recommended for you

Decoding the emergence of metastatic cancer stem cells

3 hours ago

In the first study of its kind, Rice University researchers have mapped how information flows through the genetic circuits that cause cancer cells to become metastatic. The research reveals a common pattern ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.