London: Zoledronic acid, a group of drugs, tried out on breast cancers among post-menopausal women has shown promising results.
Mainly used to treat osteoporosis, zoledronic acid is also given to cancer patients to protect against the effects of secondary bone cancer, such as pain and weakness in the bones.
Lab studies have suggested that zoledronic acid might also have direct anti-tumour effects and enhance other chemotherapy treatments.
Led by Robert Coleman, professor at the Weston Park Hospital in Sheffield, Britain, the drug trial recruited 3,360 patients with stage II/III breast cancer from 174 centres.
They were randomised to receive chemotherapy and/or endocrine therapy, with or without zoledronic acid, according to a Weston statement.
An interim analysis confirmed the overall survival rate was 85 percent compared to 79 percent for women who did not receive zoledronic acid.
"This is a small but significant increase," Coleman explains. These findings were presented at the 2011 European Multidisciplinary Cancer Congress.