According to two studies led by researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital, the most commonly used medications for osteoporosis worldwide, bisphosphonates, may also prevent certain kinds of lung, breast and colon cancers.
Prior studies demonstrated an association between bisphosphonates and slowed tumor growth in some patients but not others, but the explanation behind these patterns remained unknown.
The new joint studies, published last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), employed an international research team that investigated these patterns and found that the bisphosphonates that comprise osteoporosis drugs 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.
About 90 percent of colon cancers are driven by small genetic abnormalities in these human EGF receptors (HER). This new research shows that the molecules present in the bisphosphonates drugs attach themselves to these receptors and slow the growth signals of cancerous cells.
“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 in a recent Mount Sinai press release.
The results of the study may have significant implications for future breast, lung, and colon cancer treatment programs, especially with regard to using this technology to prevent the diseases altogether.
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