Navigation Links
Cancer-Fighting Bone Drugs Might Raise Stroke Risk
Date:10/12/2010

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Oct. 12 (HealthDay News) -- A new study finds that cancer patients treated with bisphosphonate drugs such as Aredia or Zometa to reduce or delay bone complications from cancer may be at higher risk for the irregular heartbeat known as atrial fibrillation and for a related event, stroke.

In atrial fibrillation, the upper chambers of the heart beat chaotically, causing blood to pool and increasing the potential of clots, stroke, heart failure and death.

However, the bump up in risk with bisphosphonates was "relatively modest," said Dr. James Goodwin, senior author of a paper appearing online Oct. 12 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

At relatively low doses, bisphosphonates have been widely used for about three decades to treat osteoporosis, mainly in older women.

Then, "in the 1990s, it was discovered that they had a rather miraculous effect in terms of either treating or preventing metastases to bones from certain cancers," noted Goodwin, director of the Sealy Center on Aging at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. Bisphosphonates are also used to reduce pain by slowing the bone destruction caused by cancer that has spread to the bone.

"These are expensive drugs -- several thousand dollars per injection -- but they do have a benefit of preventing bone loss and decreasing the number of bone fractures in people with cancer, which is very significant," added one expert, Dr. Jay Brooks, chairman of hematology/oncology at Ochsner Clinic Foundation in Baton Rouge, La. "If you break a femur or a hip with metastatic cancer, it's devastating to you."

This new use for the drugs came with certain challenges, however. Cancer patients take bisphosphonates such as Aredia (pamidronate) or Zometa (zoledronic acid) intravenously at doses ten times higher than non-cancer patients, who typically take the drug as a pill.

Bisphosphonates already have a mixed track record and some possible risks have been noted, including severe bone or muscle pain, allergic reactions, and heightened risks for a rare type of fracture of the thighbone. A severe bone disease that causes the jawbone to break down has also been reported in some cancer patients taking IV bisphosphonates with other cancer drugs.

For the study, Goodwin and colleagues examined Medicare data on almost 7,000 men and women aged 65 or over who had been diagnosed with cancer and were taking IV bisphosphonates. These participants were compared with a control group of almost 14,000 people with cancer who were not on bisphosphonates.

Receiving bisphosphonates intravenously upped the risk for both atrial fibrillation and the risk for stroke by about 30 percent, the study found.

Eight percent of patients receiving bisphosphonates over six years developed atrial fibrillation, compared with 4 percent in the control group.

However, the absolute risk for IV bisphosphonate users was much more modest: a 5.3 percent risk of atrial fibrillation after 3 years and an 8 percent risk after 6 years, and a 1.5 percent risk of stroke after 3 years and a 4 percent risk after 6 years.

The study was also limited by several factors, including its retrospective nature and a lack of data from Medicare on patients use of oral bisphosphonates, wrote the researchers, who reported no conflicts of interest.

An accompanying journal editorial pointed out that the link between these drugs and atrial fibrillation is still unproven, nor is there any way at this point to prove a causal relationship.

And cancer patients may already be at risk for heart troubles due to toxic chemotherapy drugs, the researchers said.

"The final message is that it still is a relatively modest increase [in risk]," Goodwin stated. "While it's a serious toxicity, you have to think about the people these drugs are used in. Many of these people who are getting this drugs are not going to live that long and the drug is having a dramatic effect. There's no doubt that for most people for whom this drug is given for cancer there's an enormous benefit."

But because atrial fibrillation can lead to stroke, this latest information might come in useful to "heighten awareness for oncologists that this is a real thing . . . [which] could lead to an earlier recognition of risk and prevent stroke," Goodwin said.

"Typically, when you're treating cancer people are focused on the cancer because it is the single biggest threat to that person's existence," he added. "If patients have gotten bisphosphonates for cancer treatment and they notice they have an irregular pulse, palpitations, heart's jumping around, that's something that should get very quick medical evaluation."

More information

There's more on bisphosphonates and cancer at the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

SOURCES: Jay Brooks, MD, chairman, hematology/oncology, Ochsner Clinic Foundation, Baton Rouge, La.; James S. Goodwin, M.D., George and Cynthia Mitchell Distinguished Chair in Geriatric Medicine and director, Sealy Center on Aging, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston; online, Oct. 12, 2010, Journal of Clinical Oncology


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. New testing method hints at garlics cancer-fighting potential
2. New Cancer-Fighting Strategy Focuses On Signaling Molecules
3. Taking Blood Pressure Drugs at Bedtime May Boost Effectiveness
4. Study details structure of potential target for HIV and cancer drugs
5. Heartburn Drugs, Plavix Seem Safe to Take Together
6. Better cholesterol drugs may follow Saint Louis University researchers breakthrough
7. Researchers find no difference in drugs for macular degeneration
8. Money, drugs and chicken feet? What consumers will do for social acceptance
9. Anemia Drugs Could Pose Threat to Some Kidney Patients
10. Expert Panel Links Popular Bone Drugs to Rare Fracture
11. Long-Term Use of Bone Drugs May Be Linked to Esophageal Cancer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Cancer-Fighting Bone Drugs Might Raise Stroke Risk
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... 2016 , ... PawPaws brand pet supplements owned by Whole Health ... the health of felines. The formula is all-natural and is made from Chinese herbs ... Cat Kidney Support Supplement Soft Chews are Astragalus Root Extract and Rehmannia ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Austin residents seeking Mohs ... College of Mohs Surgery and to Dr. Russell Peckham for medical and surgical dermatology. ... treatment for skin cancer. The selective fellowship in Mohs Micrographic Surgery completed by Dr. ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... As a lifelong Southern Californian, Dr. Omkar Marathe ... from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He trained in Internal Medicine ... his fellowship in hematology/oncology at the UCLA-Olive View-Cedars Sinai program where he had the ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... A recent article published ... unfamiliar with. The article goes on to state that individuals are now more comfortable ... less common operations such as calf and cheek reduction. The Los Angeles area medical ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... and Scientific Sessions in Dallas that it will receive two significant new grants ... grants came as PHA marked its 25th anniversary by recognizing patients, medical professionals ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... OAKLAND, N.J. , June 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... in the design, development and manufacturing of collagen ... and regeneration announced today that Bill Messer ... Sales and Marketing to further leverage the growing ... surgery medical devices. Bill joins the ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... June 24, 2016   Bay Area Lyme ... Dean Center for Tick Borne Illness , ... Rehabilitation, MIT Hacking Medicine, University of California, Berkeley, ... announced the five finalists of Lyme Innovation ... More than 100 scientists, clinicians, researchers, entrepreneurs, and ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 24, 2016 Research and ... "Structural Electronics 2015-2025: Applications, Technologies, Forecasts" report ... In-Mold Electronics, Smart Skin, Structural Health Monitoring, ... Structural electronics involves electronic and/or electrical components ... replacing dumb structures such as vehicle bodies or ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: