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Bisphosphonate drugs reduce the risk of broken bones in breast cancer patients

01.09.2003


Bisphosphonate drugs reduce the risk of bone complications when used in patients whose cancer has spread to the bone, according to a new study in the BMJ.



Researchers reviewed over 30 studies examining the effect of bisphosphonates - a group of drugs commonly used to treat osteoporosis - on complications of secondary bone cancer. Cancers that commonly spread to the bone include breast cancer, prostate cancer and multiple myeloma.

They found that patients given bisphosphonate drugs were much less likely to suffer from fractures, or need orthopaedic surgery or radiotherapy. The researchers also found that patients given bisphosphonate drugs remained free of bone complications for a significantly longer period of time compared to those who did not receive the drug. However, patients given bisphosphonates did not survive longer.


The authors conclude that these drugs should be given to patients as soon as spread of cancer to the bone is diagnosed. They also report that most of the available evidence supports the use of amino-bisphosphonates, given intravenously.

Emma Dickinson | alfa
Further information:
http://bmj.com/cgi/content/full/327/7413/469

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