The use of bisphosphonates, which are commonly taken to prevent and treat osteoporosis, may lower the risk of breast cancer, according to the results of a recent study led by Polly A. Newcomb, PhD, MPH, a researcher at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.1
In this population-based case-control study, 2936 patients with invasive breast cancer and 2975 without cancer were included from 2003 to 2006. All participants were younger than 70 years and were treated in Wisconsin. Participant use of bisphosphonates was identified during interviews.
An increasing duration of bisphosphonate use was shown to be associated with an increased risk reduction. The authors noted that this risk reduction was seen in women who were not obese. According to the study authors, nitrogen-containing bisphosphonate compounds, which are commonly used to treat patients with osteoporosis, may show antitumor properties by inhibiting protein prenylation.
1. Newcomb PA, Trentham-Dietz A, Hampton JM. Bisphosphonates for osteoporosis treatment are associated with reduced breast cancer risk. Br J Cancer. 2010 Feb 16; [Epub ahead of print].