Zometa for early breast cancer?

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Question from RSmith: What are your thoughts on using Zometa in Stage I breast cancer? I hear there are studies showing it lowers recurrence and also helps keep bones strong. Do you think this will become standard of care for early breast cancer?
Answers - Ruth Oratz, M.D., F.A.C.P. We addressed this question earlier directly when we talked about the updates of the use of Zometa in postmenopausal women as well as premenopausal women. Whether or not this becomes a standard of care still remains to be seen, although there is an increasing body of data to support the concept that the use of bisphosphonates in general may help reduce the incidence of breast cancer recurrence. I would like to emphasize, however, that this effect is modest and that there are potential side effects from these drugs. So the risks and benefits of using these agents for a given individual, again, should be discussed with her physician, or treatment should be conducted in a clinical trial.
Carol Kaplan I agree with Dr. Oratz and am excitedly awaiting results from trials designed to answer this specific question. Patients should not underestimate the potential toxicity that can come from Zometa therapy, which include bone pain, a small risk of renal insufficiency, and rare occurrences of osteonecrosis of the jaw. Zometa is a costly medication and at this time is not approved for use in the adjuvant setting, which may limit coverage by insurance companies.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Updates From the 2008 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium featured Ruth Oratz, M.D., F.A.C.P. and Carol Kaplan, M.D. answering your questions about the latest updates on breast cancer risk, screening techniques, treatment options, and more.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in December 2008.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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