PloS one

A higher dosage of oral alendronate will increase the subsequent cancer risk of osteoporosis patients in Taiwan: a population-based cohort study.

PMID 23300854


Controversy still exists regarding whether alendronate (ALN) use increases the risk of esophageal cancer or breast cancer. This paper explores the possible association between the use of oral ALN in osteoporosis patients and subsequent cancer risk using the National Health Insurance (NHI) system database of Taiwan with a Cox proportional-hazard regression analysis. The exposure cohort contained 5,624 osteoporosis patients used ALN and randomly frequency-matched by age and gender of 3 osteoporosis patients without any kind of anti-osteoporosis drugs in the same period. For a dose ≥ 1.0 g/year, the risk of developing overall cancer was significantly higher (hazard ratio: 1.69, 95% confidence ratio: 1.39-2.04) than in osteoporosis patients without any anti-osteoporosis drugs. The risks for developing liver, lung, and prostate cancers and lymphoma were also significantly higher than in the control group. This population-based retrospective cohort study did not find a relationship between ALN use and either esophageal or breast cancer, but unexpectedly discovered that use of ALN with dose ≥ 1.0 g/year significantly increased risks of overall cancer incidence, as well as liver, lung, and prostate cancers and lymphoma. Further large population-based unbiased studies to enforce our findings are required before any confirmatory conclusion can be made.

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Alendronate sodium trihydrate, ≥97% (NMR), powder
C4H12NaNO7P2 · 3 H2O