US researchers have claimed that drugs commonly used to prevent thinning bones could cut the risk of breast cancer by more than a third.
Scientists based in Seattle, Washington, found that taking bisphosphonates for two years or more could reduce a woman’s risk of the cancer by nearly 40%.
The findings, published in the British Journal of Cancer, were based on a survey of almost 6,000 women aged from 20 to 69 – half with breast cancer and half without.
The study recorded how many women had used the drug for the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis and found a strong link between bisphosphonate use and reduced risk of breast cancer.
It found that women who took the drug for the longest period of two years were 40% less likely to develop breast cancer than untreated women.
Study leader Dr Polly Newcomb, from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre, said: “These medications inhibit the growth of many cell types, and this large study suggests that the development of breast tumours may also be affected.”
Copyright Press Association 2010