Breast Cancer Preventative Reported to Weaken Bones
A common fear among women is to be stricken with breast cancer. A drug that would reduce or eliminate that risk sounds very appealing. However, a product that sounds too good to be true may be just that. Exemestane (Aromasin) is a new drug that researchers hoped might provide a safe way to prevent breast cancer; however, a new study has reported that the medication is associated with a risk for significant bone loss.
A research team led by Angela M Cheung MD published their findings February 6 online in the British medical Journal The Lancet. Exemestane is currently used to prevent breast cancer; however, a large study published last June reported that its could reduce the risk of being stricken with breast cancer in the first place by about 65%, compared to a placebo, in women at increased risk of the disease.
Two other drugs that can reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence, tamoxifen and raloxifene, are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prevent breast cancer; however, they have not been used as a preventative; this restriction is in part due to serious side effects such as blood clots. Exemestane is not associated with the side effects associated with those two medications; thus, researchers set out to prove that the drug might be a safe cancer preventative for millions of women at increased risk for breast cancer (i.e., those with a strong family history of the disease).