Intravenous bisphosphonates increase the risk of bone surgery in cancer patients

July 13, 2007

Zometa and Aredia are bisphosphonate drugs given by injection to people with cancer who develop osteoporosis due to use of the chemotherapeutic drugs or if they develop metastasis to the bone. In examining the records of 16073 cancer patients treated with these drugs and comparing them with 28698 bisphosphonate nonusers it was found that using these drugs by injection increased the risk of needing surgery for the jaw or facial bone by 315%. Having a diagnosis of inflammation or osteomyelitis (inflammation of the bone) of the jaw jumped to 1148% compared with nonusers. At the six-year mark 6% of users developed jaw toxicity vs. O.3% in nonusers. The higher the number of times the drug was used related directly to the greater the increase in risk; people who had 4 to 8 infusions had a 363% increased risk of having surgery on the jaw and facial bones and people who had 21 infusions had the risk of surgery increase to 918%. This increased risk may reflect an increased risk for osteonecrosis of the jaw. The research was performed at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and is published in the June 27th, 2007 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Alpha-Lipoic Acid may help decrease pain in intermittent claudication patients

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is when arteries and major blood vessels away from the heart become narrowed and clogged. The most common manifestation of PAD occurs in the legs leading to a worsening ache, fatigue and pain in the muscle groups distal from the blockage or narrowing in a condition known as intermittent claudication (IC). In this study a group of men and women in their early 70?s with PAD were placed on 600mg of Alpha-Lipoic Acid or inactive placebo daily for three-months. The time for IC pain to occur increased by 35%, The initial amount walked that led to pain improved by 41%, and peak claudication pain ratings dropped a stunning 93% on Alpha-Lipoic Acid. The study was performed at the University of Virginia Health System at Charlottesville and the University of Florida at Gainesville and is published in the June 2007 issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

Great promise for Turmeric use in colorectal cancer patients

In preclinical and animal studies Turmeric supplying Curcumin consistently inhibits breast, colon, stomach, liver, oral, leukemia, cervical, ovarian, pancreatic, and prostate cancer cells. The robust effect against colorectal cancer has led to five Phase I clinical trials showing the safety of Turmeric and its tolerability in colorectal cancer patients and the maximal level of tolerance is still open because in these trials the patients took up to 8000 mg a day. The success of these trials has led to Phase II clinical trials that are currently enrolling patients. The overwhelming in vitro evidence and completed clinical trials show that Turmeric may be useful in these patients. The review is published in the April 18th, 2007 issue of Cancer Letters