Bisphosphonate use may not prevent breast cancer

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Resistance to breast cancer treatment tied to mutations in estrogen receptor
Resistance to breast cancer treatment tied to mutations in estrogen receptor

(HealthDay News) -- Data from two randomized controlled trials suggest that bisphosphonate use does not protect against postmenopausal breast cancer, according to research published online Aug. 11 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Trisha F. Hue, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the University of California in San Francisco, and colleagues examined the correlation between postmenopausal breast cancer incidence and bisphosphonate use. Data were obtained from the Fracture Intervention Trial (FIT), involving 6,459 women who were randomized to alendronate or placebo, and the Health Outcomes and Reduced Incidence With Zoledronic Acid Once Yearly-Pivotal Fracture Trial (HORIZON-PFT), involving 7,765 women, randomized to annual intravenous zoledronic acid or placebo. In both studies, the authors examined the hazard ratio for incident breast cancer in the bisphosphonate group versus the placebo group.

The researchers observed no significant between-group difference in the rate of breast cancer in FIT (1.5 percent in placebo group versus 1.8 percent in alendronate group; hazard ratio [HR], 1.24; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.84 to 1.83) or in HORIZON-PFT (0.8 percent in placebo group versus 0.9 percent in zoledronic acid group; HR, 1.15; 95 percent CI, 0.70 to 1.89). When the data from FIT and HORIZON-PFT were pooled, there was no significant between-group difference noted (HR, 1.20; 95 percent CI, 0.89 to 1.63).

"Contrary to the results from observational studies, we found that three to four years of bisphosphonate treatment did not decrease the risk of invasive postmenopausal breast cancer," the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to Merck Sharp & Dohme. FIT was funded by Merck and HORIZON-PFT was funded by Novartis.

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