Study suggests Zometa combination may reduce chance of breast cancer relapse


CHICAGO A study announced Sunday shows that a drug for building bones may also help women with breast cancer.

The study, presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual meeting in Chicago, found that breast cancer patients who took a combined treatment of Zometa and hormone-inhibiting drugs were 35 percent less likely to relapse than those who took placebos.

Half the patients took anastrozole (AstraZeneca’s Arimidex), a drug usually given to postmenopausal women that blocks the effects of estrogen, while the other half took tamoxifen (AstraZeneca’s Nolvadex), which blocks the production of estrogen and is usually administered following breast-cancer surgery. Half the patients from each group took Zometa. All patients took goserelin (AstraZeneca’s Zoladex), a drug that stops the production of estrogen.

The study examined 1,800 women who had received breast cancer surgery who had an average age of 44. It then followed the patients for five years. Six percent of patients who took the treatment and 9 percent who did not take it relapsed or died within that period.

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