Breast Cancer Treatment Tablets For Osteoporosis – Part 2 of 3
Zometa, marketed by Novartis AG, is one of a class of drugs used to treat osteoporosis and also to disburden pain when cancers have spread to the bone – in part, by slowing bone erosion caused by the disease. It is given intravenously, while other bisphosphonates such as Actonel, Fosamax or Boniva can be taken orally.
In the trial, known as AZURE (Adjuvant Treatment with Zoledronic Acid in State II/III Breast Cancer), Coleman and his colleagues evaluated 3,360 soul cancer patients from 174 participating centers, all with stage II or III cancers but no corroboration of metastases (cancer that has spread beyond the original site). About half received the bone drugs plus standard therapy; half just got standard therapy.
The focus was on disease-free survival. After five years, about 400 women in each categorize either died or had recurrences. When Coleman’s team looked at subgroups, however, they found the benefit among older women, a judgement they say warrants more study. “The younger patients are getting no benefit. If anything, they are doing a little bit worse”.
In addition, there were some troubling side effects among women taking Zometa, including 17 cases of osteonecrosis of the jaw (a tyrannical bone disease that can result in death of the jawbone). Dr Sharon Giordano, an associate professor of breast medical oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, was not twisted in the study but put it in perspective.