Brittle Bone Pill Reduces Breast Cancer Risk By Up To 40%
Drugs used to treat brittle bones could reduce the risk of breast cancer by almost 40%.
In a study by researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in Seattle, Washington found a strong association between bisphosphonate, a drug used to treat osteoporosis, and a reduced risk of breast cancer.
In the UK alone 45,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year and 12,000 die.
The study 'Bisphosphonates for osteoporosis treatment are associated with reduced breast cancer risk' is published in the British Journal of Cancer.
The biggest reduction in risk was for women who had been taking the drugs for two years or more.
The study suggests the drug only works to reduce the risk of breast cancer in women who are not obese.
Cancer Research UK welcomed the research results but cautioned that more tests would have to be undertaken before making formal recommendations about the future use of these drugs in preventing breast cancer.
Study leader Dr Polly Newcomb, from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in Seattle, Washington, said: "These medications inhibit the growth of many cell types, and this large study suggests that the development of breast tumours may also be affected."
The study, carried out by researchers in Seattle and published in the British Journal of Cancer, compared nearly 3,000 women with breast cancer against 3,000 without the disease.
"This large study provides new evidence that the use of bisphosphonates is associated with a potentially important reduction in breast-cancer risk,"
“We have begun this in our breast cancer prevention trial in post menopausal women. This focuses on using a drug that stops oestrogen being produced, with a small bone sub-study using a bisphosphonate. Larger studies will be needed to fully evaluate the role of a bisphosphonate in prevention.”
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Loughborough, Leicestershire, United Kingdom