Scientists have found that the use of bisphosphonates - drugs already taken by millions of healthy women to prevent bone-loss - for more than one year is associated with a 50 per cent reduction in the risk of postmenopausal colorectal cancer.
Lead researcher Prof. Gad Rennert, of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology Faculty of Medicine, says these findings further support the role of bisphosphonates as a possible new drug class for cancer prevention.
Rennert and colleagues extracted data from the Molecular Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer (MECC) study, a population-based case-control study in northern Israel, conducted together with senior author Stephen Gruber, of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Using pharmacy records, the team evaluated the use of bisphosphonates in 1,866 postmenopausal female participants.
The researchers found that the use of bisphosphonates prior to diagnosis was strongly associated with a significant reduced relative risk for colorectal cancer.
The result remain the same even after making adjustments for a large variety of known risk or protective factors for colorectal cancer such as family history, dietary components, physical activity, body mass index, and the use of other medications such as aspirin, statins and hormone replacement therapy.
The results were published this week in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.