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Zometa’s role in cancer prevention remains uncertain, said Dr. Peter Ravdin of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, one of the organizers of the cancer conference.

“There are some indications that in some patients it may still have value,” but the side effect profile “certainly means that this drug shouldn’t be given without confidence that it will cause benefit,” he said.

Studies testing other bisphosphonate drugs for breast cancer will have results in a year or two.

Breast cancer is the most common major cancer in women. About 207,000 new cases and nearly 40,000 deaths from it are expected in the United States this year.

The cancer conference is sponsored by the American Association for Cancer Research, Baylor College of Medicine and the UT Health Science Center.

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Online:

Cancer conference: http://www.sabcs.org

Study details: http://tinyurl.com/3yzqekj

American Cancer Society: http://www.cancer.org