Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Long term use of oral bisphosphonates may double risk of esophageal cancer, study finds

Date:
September 3, 2010
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
People who take oral bisphosphonates for bone disease over five years may be doubling their risk of developing esophageal cancer (cancer of the gullet), according to a new study.

People who take oral bisphosphonates for bone disease over five years may be doubling their risk of developing oesophageal cancer (cancer of the gullet), according to a new study published online in the British Medical Journal.

Related Articles


Oral bisphosphonates are a type of drug used to treat osteoporosis and other bone diseases and are the most commonly recommended treatment for such conditions.

Case reports suggest an association between use of oral bisphosphonates for osteoporosis and increased risk of oesophageal cancer. But the evidence is limited, and no adequately large study with information on potential confounding factors and long follow-up has been published.

So researchers from the University of Oxford's Cancer Epidemiology Unit and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency carried out a large-scale study to look into the possibility of an association.

They analysed data from the UK General Practice Research Database, which has anonymised patient records for around six million people registered with a NHS GP.

They focused on men and women aged over 40 years -- 2,954 with oesophageal cancer, 2,018 with stomach cancer and 10,641 with colorectal (bowel) cancer diagnosed between 1995 and 2005. Each case was compared with five controls matched for age, sex, general practice and observation period.

They found that people with 10 or more prescriptions, or with prescriptions over about five years, had nearly double the risk of oesophageal cancer compared with people with no bisphosphonate prescriptions.

There was no such increased risk for stomach or bowel cancer.

Typically, oesophageal cancer develops in one per 1000 people at age 60-79 over five years. Based on their findings, the authors estimate that with five years' use of oral bisphosphonates this would increase to two cases per 1000 people taking bisphosphonates over five years.

Although these results appear to contradict another recently published study using the same database, which reported no increased risk of oesophageal cancer with oral bisphosphonate use, this latest report tracked patients for nearly twice as long, and also had greater statistical power.

The study's lead author, Dr Jane Green, says: "Oesophageal cancer is uncommon. The increased risks we found were in people who used oral bisphosphonates for about five years, and even if our results are confirmed, few people taking bisphosphonates are likely to develop oesophageal cancer as a result of taking these drugs. Our findings are part of a wider picture. Bisphosphonates are being increasingly prescribed to prevent fractures, and what is lacking is reliable information on the benefits and risks of their use in the long term."

In an accompanying editorial, Dr Diane Wysowski, an epidemiologist at the US Food and Drug Administration, discusses the differences between the two studies. She says that "the possibility of adverse effects on the oesophagus should prompt doctors who prescribe these drugs to consider risks versus benefits." She also suggests doctors "tell patients to report difficulty in swallowing and throat, chest, or digestive discomfort so that they can be promptly evaluated and possibly advised to discontinue the drug."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Long term use of oral bisphosphonates may double risk of esophageal cancer, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100902191327.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2010, September 3). Long term use of oral bisphosphonates may double risk of esophageal cancer, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100902191327.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Long term use of oral bisphosphonates may double risk of esophageal cancer, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100902191327.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins