Novartis has presented data at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago which reveals that in pre-menopausal women with hormone-sensitive, early-stage breast cancer, the firm’s Zometa plus hormone therapy significantly reduced the risk of cancer recurrence or death.

In the ABCSG-12 study, 1803 pre-menopausal women with hormone-sensitive early-stage breast cancer who had undergone surgery were randomised into one of four groups – Zometa (zoledronic acid) plus AstraZeneca’s Arimidex (anastrozole), Zometa plus tamoxifen, anastrozole alone or tamoxifen alone.

Patients were treated for three years and followed up for a median of an additional two years. The findings demonstrated that those who received Zometa reduced their risk of disease recurrence by 36%, compared with those who received hormone therapy alone.

"These results represent a tremendous advance for women hoping to prevent the return of their cancer," said David Epstein, chief of Novartis Oncology. He added that "we continue to explore the anticancer benefit of Zometa in a large clinical programme with nearly 20,000 patients in 10 trials worldwide”. Results from these studies will come out over the next two to three years.