Drugs Cut Bone Loss of Hormone Therapy
Bisphosphonates Counter Side Effect of Treatment for Breast Cancer
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Zometa Helps Build Bone
The Australian study involved over 400 premenopausal women with early-stage
breast cancer; they received hormone therapy to prevent recurrence of breast
cancer. The women were being treated by tamoxifen and Zoladex, or Arimidex and
In addition, half the women received treatment with the bone-building drug
Zometa. The medication was given once every six months for three years.
Bone density measurements of the spine were taken at the beginning of the
study and two years after treatment ended.
Results show that women who did not receive Zometa during hormonal therapy
lost 6.3% of their bone mineral density.
In contrast, bone mineral density increased by 4.4% in women who took
Zometa, says researcher Michael Gnant, MD, of the University of Vienna in
Zometa Helps Prevent Bone Loss
The American study, funded by Zometa maker Novartis Pharmaceuticals,
involved over 600 postmenopausal women starting Femara treatment.
Half were given Zometa as soon as they started taking Femara for prevention
of breast cancer recurrence. The rest were given Zometa only if researchers
detected significant bone loss or a fracture.
Over the next three years, bone mineral density in the spine increased by an
average of 4% in women who got Zometa from the start. Their hip bone mineral
density rose by an average of 2%.
In contrast, the group in which treatment was delayed showed an average
decrease of 3% in the spine bone density and an average decrease of 4% in hip
The ongoing British study involves 250 women enrolled in testing whether the
aromatase inhibitor Arimidex can help to prevent breast cancer in high-risk
Half the women are taking one Arimidex tablet a day for five years, while
the others are taking placebo.
Early results show that women with normal bone mineral density at the start
of the study who weren't given the osteoporosis drug Actonel lost a significant
amount of bone on Arimidex treatment.
However, bone mineral density increased in women on Arimidex with poor bone
health at the start of the study who were given Actonel for one year, says
researcher Shalini Singh, MD, of the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine