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Can Healthy Bones Help Prevent the Spread of Breast Cancer? Fox Chase Cancer Center Physicians Study Bone-Building Drug

PHILADELPHIA (Sept. 12, 2003) — Bones are the most common place in the body where breast cancer spreads, or metastasizes. Physicians at Fox Chase Cancer Center are studying a new drug, clodronate, to see if it can prevent cancer from spreading and developing in the bones.

"We believe that cancer can spread easier and develop in bones that are damaged," said Mary Cianfrocco, DO, a medical oncologist at Fox Chase and principal investigator of this study. "This study will help us determine if clodronate can block the cancer from spreading by strengthening the bones in women with early stage breast cancer."

Clodronate is a bisphosphonate, a drug that strengthens bones in many patients who take it.

"We also hope that blood tests can help us learn more about the effect breast cancer and/or its treatment has on the health of bones," Cianfrocca added.

This is a randomized, double-blinded study, which means the patient will be randomized (randomly assigned) to receive either the clodronate or placebo (inactive sugar pill). Neither the patient nor the physician will know if the patient is receiving the drug or placebo (double-blinded). Participants in the study will take two pills daily for three years.

This study is sponsored by the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP).

Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence four consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach.  For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

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