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Bone drug could help prevent the spread of breast cancer
Date:5/16/2008

uscule clusters of breast tumor cells called micrometastases in their bone marrow at the time of their diagnosis have an increased risk of developing large metastatic tumors later.

The researchers took bone marrow samples again three months and one year after treatment began. Only 23 percent of women who got zoledronic acid had tumor cells after three months compared to 36 percent of those who didn't get the drug. This result did not reach statistical significance.

Of women who started with no tumor cells in their bone marrow, 88 percent remained free of tumor cells in their bone marrow if they got zoledronic acid, compared to 70 percent of those who did not receive the drug. This result approached statistical significance. The one-year results are not yet available.

Aft says that women who receive chemotherapy for breast cancer have increased rates of bone turnover, which can release growth factors and produce a favorable environment for cancer cells. The suppression of bone turnover by zoledronic acid or other bisphosphonate drugs could make bones less friendly surroundings for cancer.

"We found that patients who are negative for tumor cells in bone marrow have a very good chance of staying negative if they take zoledronic acid," Aft says. "If longer follow up shows that women without tumor cells in their bones do not go on to develop metastatic disease, then it would be reasonable to say that bisphosphonates will likely benefit women with locally advanced breast cancer."


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Contact: Gwen Ericson
ericsong@wustl.edu
314-286-0141
Washington University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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