Sunday, December 14, 2008

Osteoporosis Drug May Shrink Breast Tumors

The osteoporosis drug zoledronic acid (Zometa) seems to shrink breast tumors in patients who undergo chemotherapy, according to research presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

In a study of 205 women undergoing chemotherapy, those who received Zometa in addition to chemotherapy were left with residual invasive tumors of 28.2 millimeters, while those receiving chemotherapy alone had residual tumors sized at 42.4 millimeters. Eleven percent of the women receiving combination therapy had no evidence of cancer in their breasts or lymph nodes compared with six percent of those who received chemotherapy alone.

Zometa is already approved as a treatment for breast cancer that has spread to the bone, and reportedly may lower the recurrence of breast cancer in pre-menopausal women with estrogen- or progesterone-positive tumors.

The study’s senior author, Dr. Robert Coleman of the University of Sheffield in England, expects that new trials will be designed to further test the hypothesis.

Zometa, like Fosamax,is a bisphosphonate and—also like Fosamax—has been linked to side-effects such as spontaneous osteonecrosis of the jaw, or “dead jaw.”

Medications can have unexpected benefits as well as negative side-effects. Have you experienced any such benefits while taking Fosamax? Please share your experiences with us.