May 15th 2010
A majority of the more than 190,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the US will receive some form of adjuvant therapy. Many breast cancer treatments cause decreases in circulating estrogen levels, which in turn can have a significant effect on bone mineral density; this condition is known as cancer treatment-induced bone loss (CTIBL). In this issue of ONCOLOGY, Reeder and Brufsky review the role of bisphosphonates in the setting of adjuvant breast cancer treatment. Both oral and intravenous bisphosphonates are effective in the prevention and treatment of CTIBL, and emerging data suggest that adjuvant bisphosphonate therapy may also affect breast cancer recurrence and survival. In considering the role of these medicines in early stage breast cancer, however, a number of important questions remain.