Bisphosphonates Can Prevent Certain Cancers: PNAS Study

A study found new indications for a drug that is widely used in the treatment of osteoarthritis, based on an observation that those on the medication had a lower incidence of several cancers.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

PNAS

The most commonly used medications for osteoporosis worldwide, bisphosphonates, may also prevent certain kinds of lung, breast, and colon cancers, according to 2 studies led by researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and published today in the ().

Bisphosphonates had been associated by past studies with slowed tumor growth in some patients but not others, and the mechanism behind these patterns was unknown. In the studies published today, an international research team showed that bisphosphonates block the abnormal growth signals passed through the human EGF receptors (HER), including the forms of this protein family that make some tumors resistant to leading treatments. The connection between bisphosphonates and HER receptors was detected first in a genetic database analysis and confirmed in studies of human cancer cells and in mice.

"Our study reveals a newfound mechanism that may enable the use of bisphosphonates in the future treatment and prevention of the many lung, breast and colon cancers driven by the HER family of receptors," said lead study author Mone Zaidi, MD, Professor of Medicine and of Structural and Chemical Biology within the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Director of the Mount Sinai Bone Program and a member of the Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai. "Having already been approved by the FDA as effective at preventing bone loss, and having a long track record of safety, these drugs could be quickly applied to cancer if we can confirm in clinical trials that this drug class also reduces cancer growth in people. It would be much more efficient than starting drug design from scratch."

Link to the press release: http://bit.ly/12kQ2Oy