“Deborah agreed to take part in a trial as she was keen to help other cancer patients in the future. "If taking part in a trial means others might be helped then I’m very happy with that."
A trial to see if zoledronic acid can help chemotherapy work better before surgery for breast cancer (ANZAC)
This trial was to see if using zoledronic acid with chemotherapy would help treat breast cancer.
Zoledronic acid (Zometa or Zoledronate) is a bisphosphonate. Doctors use bisphosphonates to reduce pain and damage that may happen when cancer spreads to the bones. We knew from laboratory research that zoledronic acid could kill breast cancer cells. Researchers in the laboratory found out that using zoledronic acid and chemotherapy together may kill more cancer cells.
Many of these results were from looking at cancer cells in a laboratory. Researchers wanted to see if adding zoledronic acid to chemotherapy increased the number of cancer cells that die as a result of treatment. This was a pilot study. If researchers saw encouraging results, they would go on to a larger trial. The aim of this trial was to see if adding zoledronic acid to breast cancer chemotherapy helped chemotherapy to work better before surgery.
Summary of results
The trial team found that adding one dose of zoledronic acid to chemotherapy didn’t help it work better.
The researchers took a small tissue sample (biopsy) from the women’s cancer 5 days after their first cycle of chemotherapy and just before their second cycle.
In the laboratory the researchers looked at the tissue sample and counted the number of dead cells they could see. They found that there was little difference between the 2 groups in the number of cells that had died after the first cycle of chemotherapy.
The researchers also looked at 2 substances (
There were minor changes in the 2 biomarkers that indicated the zoledronic acid was having some effect.
The trial team found that adding zoledronic acid to 1 cycle of chemotherapy didn’t help. But they say that changes did happen suggesting that giving zoledronic acid with more cycles of chemotherapy may help and trials with bigger numbers are needed to find this out.
We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (
How to join a clinical trial
Professor Robert Coleman
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
University of Sheffield