Continuous treatment with low doses of bisphosphonates, a class of drugs used to strengthen bones, has been shown to inhibit the growth of skeletal tumors in mice, researchers report in the Feb. 21 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Previous evidence suggested that, at high doses, bisphosphonates have antitumor properties in animal models. But these levels are considered too high for use in patients. Lower doses that are approved for treating patients have not shown adequate tumor-fighting properties.
In the new study, Florence Daubiné, M.Sc., of Inserm (the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research) in Lyon, and her colleagues tested two types of bisphosphonates—clodronate and zoledronic acid—for their effectiveness at preventing and treating skeletal tumors in mice. The mice were given daily, weekly, or single doses of the drugs either before or after they were injected with human breast cancer cells, then compared with a control group of mice that was given placebo.
A daily dose of zoledronic acid was the most effective method for preventing tumor growth, resulting in tumors that were 88% smaller than those in the control group, followed by weekly zoledronic acid (80%) and daily clodronate (50%). There was no difference in tumor size in mice given a single dose of zoledronic acid.
Note: The Journal of the National Cancer Institute is published by Oxford University Press and is not affiliated with the National Cancer Institute. Visit the Journal online at http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/.
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