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Study: Zometa May Help Fight Breast Cancer

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Thursday, February 12, 2009 10:27 AM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: Zometa, Breast Cancer, FDA and Prescription Drugs, Menopause, Novartis AG, Cancer


IMAGE SOURCE: Wikimedia Commons / Zoledronic Acid / author: Fvasconcellos

The drug Zometa, used to prevent bone loss and prevent fractures in cancer patients, may also be effective in reducing the risk of early breast cancer reoccurrence or death in premenopausal women, suggests new research by Austrian scientists.

Zometa (known generically as zoledronic acid) is in a class of bone-strengthening drugs known as bisphosphonates which are widely used in osteoporosis treatment. Breast cancer and other types of cancers commonly spread to the bone and patients can be crippled by the excruciating pain and fractures that result.

Research led by the Austrian Breast & Colorectal Cancer Study Group (ABCSG) is the first large, randomized, Phase III clinical trial that has shown zoledronic acid offers increased protection against the return of early breast cancer in premenopausal women.

In the trial, Zometa, along with post-surgery hormonal therapy, provided a reduction of recurrence or death that was 36 percent beyond that achieved by hormone therapy alone.

Earlier studies have suggested that Zometa, marketed by Novartis AG, may have direct anti-cancer effects, including helping to protect against the return and spread of cancer before it reaches an advanced stage.

“The findings of this landmark study substantiate the strong anticancer effect of Zometa, beyond the well-established benefit of this treatment in preventing bone complications in advanced cancers,” said Dr. Michael Gnant, lead researcher.

The research appears in the February 12 issue of New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

In December, new research suggested adding Zometa to chemotherapy can shrink breast tumors more than chemo alone, helping more women to avoid mastectomy.

The National Cancer Institute estimates 1.3 million new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. each year, of them, 465,000 women will die of the disease. #

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