New drug may treat osteoporosis and prevent breast cancer

According to a study published in The Journal of the National Cancer Institute, lasofoxifene - which blocks the effects of estrogen in breast tissue - statistically reduced the overall risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis.

In the Postmenopausal Evaluation and Risk-Reduction with Lasofoxifene (PEARL) trial, 8,556 women with low bone density and normal mammograms were randomly assigned to two doses of lasofoxifene - either .25 or .50 milligrams per day, or placebo.

The researchers found that the women taking .50 milligrams of lasofoxifene, compared to the placebo, had a 79 percent lower risk of breast cancer. Furthermore, there was a 32 percent reduction in coronary events, and a 36 percent reduction in strokes. Vertebral fractures also decreased by 42 percent, and non-vertebral fractures by 24 percent.

The authors said that the risk reduction for breast cancer with lasofoxifene was similar to that reported for tamoxifen and raloxifene, which are comparable medications. However, lasofoxifene did not pose a risk for other cancers, unlike tamoxifen, which is associated with an increased risk of endometrial cancer and other gynecological conditions. Raloxifene has also been used less frequently because of its perceived insufficient benefits.

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