Bone Loss Drug Showing Success in Preventing Cancer Recurrence
Filed under Magee-Womens Hospital
By 2010, it is anticipated that cancer will surpass heart disease as the number one killer in the United States. The need to translate scientific discovery into clinical practice is greater than ever - and that's what the Magee-Womens Breast Cancer Program of UPMC Cancer Centers is poised to do.
Magee is accruing patients for a multi-institution, Phase III trial evaluating the role of bisphosphonates as supplemental therapy for primary breast cancer.
Bisphosphonates were initially given to patients with hormone receptor positive breast cancer receiving aromatase inhibitor therapy to reduce treatment- and disease-related skeletal complications. However, recent studies have suggested that bisphosphonates may also prevent breast cancer recurrence.
Bone metastases, a common complication in patients with breast cancer, can lead to complications such as pain, fractures, spinal cord compression, bone marrow suppression, and hypercalcemia. Several randomized clinical trials have evaluated the use of bisphosphonates in patients with hormone receptor positive women to prevent bone loss. Data from the trials has demonstrated that bisphosphonates are effective in relieving symptoms of bone involvement, and, in some cases, prevent recurrence.
To determine the role of bisphosphonates in preventing breast cancer recurrence, the Southwest Oncology Group has designed a three-arm study, of which the Magee breast program is a major site. The study compares three bisphosphonates - zolendronic acid, clodronate, and ibandronate - combined with current standard-of-care therapies for breast cancer. Standard therapies include surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and radiation therapy.
The purpose of the study is to determine which of the three bisphosphonates is better at preventing breast cancer recurrence and bone loss. Study participants will be randomized into one of three groups and will receive bisphonsphonate treatment for up to three years, along with follow up for up to five years post-treatment.
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