Medication commonly used to treat osteoporosis could reduce the risk of breast cancer by more than a third, research has found.
Scientists in the US found that bisphosphonates, usually prescribed for brittle bones, cut the cancer risk by almost 40% among those who had been using them for two years or more.
The research, which compared more than 3,000 breast cancer sufferers to those without the disease, found a strong association between the treatment and a reduced breast cancer risk, also finding that prolonged exposure to bisphosphonates appeared to further reduce the chance of contracting the cancer.
Study leader Dr Polly Newcomb, from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in Seattle, Washington, said: “These medications inhibit the growth of many cell types, and this large study suggests that the development of breast tumours may also be affected.”
The results were published in the British Journal of Cancer.