Drug Prevents Prostate Cancer Spread
(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- A drug commonly used to prevent bone loss may also help prevent prostate cancer from spreading and killing men. A new study from the United Kingdom indicates oral sodium clodronate may slow the spread of cancer to the bone and reduce the risk of death. This is a drug commonly used to prevent bone loss.
Estimates show prostate cancer spreads to the bone in about 85 percent of men. The researchers recruited 311 men who were being given hormone therapy for bone metastases. The patients who received oral sodium clodronate had a 21-percent reduction in risk of bone metastases and a 20-percent reduction in their risk of death. The researchers write, "Our results suggest that men treated with the bisphosphonate sodium clodronate have longer symptomatic bone progression-free survival times than men treated with placebo."
More than 70 percent of the men who took the medication also reported a significant number of side effects. The physicians report side effects lessened when the dosage was adjusted. The study investigators say these findings are still lacking. They used a small group of patients and say the oral medication used is difficult for the body to absorb. A different form of sodium clodronate may have a different outcome.
In an accompanying editorial, Fred Saad, M.D., says this study is important and gives doctors new information to consider when treating newly diagnosed patients. He writes, "The challenge will be to identify patients that are most at risk and therefore most likely to benefit."
This article was reported by Ivanhoe.com, who offers Medical Alerts by e-mail every day of the week. To subscribe, go to: http://www.ivanhoe.com/newsalert/.
SOURCE: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2003;95:1300-1311