Skip to content

Breast Cancer Health Center

Font Size



    Magnitude of Effect: Breast cancer incidence is approximately 25% lower in women who have taken bisphosphonates for more than a year, although this difference might be attributable to the lower breast cancer risk that is associated with decreased bone density. In women who have had estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer, bisphosphonate use is associated with a 59% decrease in the development of contralateral breast cancer, compared with similar women without bisphosphonate treatment.

    Study Design: Case-control studies.
    Internal Validity: Good.
    Consistency: Good.
    External Validity: Good.


    1. Boyd NF, Martin LJ, Rommens JM, et al.: Mammographic density: a heritable risk factor for breast cancer. Methods Mol Biol 472: 343-60, 2009.
    2. McCormack VA, dos Santos Silva I: Breast density and parenchymal patterns as markers of breast cancer risk: a meta-analysis. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 15 (6): 1159-69, 2006.
    3. Col: Breast cancer and breastfeeding: collaborative reanalysis of individual data from 47 epidemiological studies in 30 countries, including 50302 women with breast cancer and 96973 women without the disease. Lancet 360 (9328): 187-95, 2002.
    4. Cuzick J, Sestak I, Bonanni B, et al.: Selective oestrogen receptor modulators in prevention of breast cancer: an updated meta-analysis of individual participant data. Lancet 381 (9880): 1827-34, 2013.
    5. Goss PE, Ingle JN, Alés-Martínez JE, et al.: Exemestane for breast-cancer prevention in postmenopausal women. N Engl J Med 364 (25): 2381-91, 2011.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

    Last Updated: 8/, 015
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

    Today on WebMD

    Breast Cancer Overview
    From self-exams and biopsies to reconstruction, we’ve got you covered.
    Dealing with breast cancer
    Get answers to your questions.
    woman having mammogram
    Experts don’t agree on all fronts, but you can be your own advocate.
    woman undergoing breast cancer test
    Many women worry. But the truth? Most abnormalities aren’t breast cancer.
    Breast Cancer Treatments Improving
    Resolved To Quit Smoking
    Woman getting mammogram
    Screening Tests for Women
    ovarian cancer overview slideshow
    serious woman
    what is your cancer risk
    10 Ways to Revitalize Slideshow