Bisphosphonate drugs used to prevent osteoporosis may also help reduce risk of breast cancer

November 21, 2015

Dr Lesley Walker, Cancer Research UK's cancer information director, said: "This is an interesting result but important questions remain about using this type of drug to help reduce breast cancer risk. It's important that researchers find out more about how these drugs act on cancer cells and whether the drug is only appropriate for certain women. All drugs have potential side effects and before any drug can be recommended to prevent or treat a disease thorough testing needs to be completed."

Professor Jack Cuzick, Cancer Research UK's epidemiologist who leads a breast cancer prevention trial named IBIS-2, said: "This is an interesting finding which has been previously suggested by breast cancer treatment trials where recurrence rates have been reduced with bisphosphonate use. These findings now need to be confirmed with direct randomised prevention trials in high risk women.

"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."

Source: Cancer Research UK