Adjuvant bisphosphonates reduce the rate of breast cancer recurrence in the bone and improve breast cancer survival in postmenopausal women, a recent study published online ahead of print in the journal The Lancet has shown.

For the meta-analysis, researchers sought to identify the risks and benefits of adjuvant bisphosphonate treatment in breast cancer. Bisphosphonates include alendronate, risedronate, pamidronate, and zoledronic acid.

Researchers analyzed data on 18,766 women with early breast cancer who received adjuvant bisphosphonate treatment. Results showed that bisphosphonate significantly reduced bone recurrence (RR = 0.83; 95% CI: 0.73, 0.94; P=0.004).

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In postmenopausal women, bisphosphonate treatment significantly reduced recurrence (RR = 0.86; 95% CI: 0.78, 0.94;P=0.002), distant recurrence (RR = 0.82; 95% CI: 0.74, 0.92; P=0.0003), bone recurrence RR = 0.72; 95% CI: 0.60, 0.86; P=0.0002), and breast cancer mortality (RR = 0.82; 95% CI: 0.73, 0.93; P=0.002).

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Researchers found no difference in benefit between bisphosphonate class, treatment schedule, nodes, estrogen receptor status, concomitant chemotherapy, or tumor grade.

There was also a significant reduction in bone fractures among patients (RR = 0.85; 95% CI: 0.75, 0.97; P=0.02).


  1. Early Breast Cancer Trialists’ Collaborative Group (EBCTCG). Adjuvant bisphosphonate treatment in early breast cancer: meta-analyses of individual patient data from randomised trials. The Lancet. 2015. [epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(15)60908-4.