Oral Bisphosphonates May Lower Colorectal Cancer Risk

Use of bisphosphonates tied to reduced cancer risk in postmenopausal women

THURSDAY, Feb. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Use of oral bisphosphonates for more than one year in postmenopausal women is associated with a 59 percent decrease in the relative risk of colorectal cancer, according to a study published online Feb. 14 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Gad Rennert, M.D., Ph.D., from the Carmel Medical Center in Haifa, Israel, and colleagues used computerized pharmacy records to compare the long-term use of bisphosphonates in reducing the risk of colorectal cancer in postmenopausal women. The use of bisphosphonates prior to diagnosis in 933 postmenopausal women with colorectal cancer and 933 matched controls was investigated in a population-based case-control study.

The investigators found that the use of bisphosphonates for more than one year before diagnosis was associated with a significant reduction in the relative risk of colorectal cancer. This association persisted even after adjustment for confounding factors, including dietary factors, weight, exercise, family history, and treatment with medications such as low-dose aspirin, statins, vitamin D, or postmenopausal hormones. Concomitant treatment with statins did not result in a further risk reduction.

"These data provide evidence that oral bisphosphonates may be effective for prevention of colorectal cancer in postmenopausal women. The study demonstrated a 59 percent reduction in risk after adjustment for many known risk factors for colorectal cancer," the authors write.

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