Use of bisphosphonates and risk of breast cancer in a French cohort of postmenopausal women

Agnès Fournier, Sylvie Mesrine, Amandine Gelot, Guy Fagherazzi, Laura Baglietto, Françoise Clavel-Chapelon, Marie Christine Boutron-Ruault*, Nathalie Chabbert-Buffet

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: To assess whether bisphosphonate (BP) use is associated with decreased breast cancer incidence in a cohort of postmenopausal women. Methods: The study population included 64,438 postmenopausal women participating in the French E3N (Etude Epidémiologique auprès de femmes de la Mutuelle Générale de l’Education Nationale) prospective cohort, with data self-reported in biennial questionnaires matched with data from a drug reimbursement database. Exposure to BPs and the use of other osteoporosis treatments during follow-up were determined using reimbursement data. Other covariates (breast cancer risk factors, clinical risk factors for osteoporotic fractures, and bone mineral density surveillance) originated from the questionnaires. Hazard ratios (HRs) of breast cancer were estimated using Cox proportional hazards models, considering exposure as a time-varying variable. Results: Over an average of 7.2 years of follow-up (2004 to 2011), 2,407 first primary breast cancer cases were identified. The HR of breast cancer associated with exposure to BPs was 0.98 (95% CI, 0.85 to 1.12). We found no effect modification by age, body mass index, time since menopause, use of hormone replacement therapy, use of calcium supplements, or use of vitamin D supplements. There was no heterogeneity across BP molecules and no trend according to cumulative dose, duration of use, or time since last use. We observed a decrease in breast cancer risk restricted to the year after treatment initiation (HR, 0.56; 95% CI, 0.36 to 0.87), which was likely explained by healthy screenee bias. Finally, we did not find any variation in HRs across breast carcinomas defined by their estrogen receptor or invasive or in situ status. Conclusion: In our observational cohort of postmenopausal women observed from 2004 to 2011, BP use, likely prescribed for the management of osteoporosis, was not associated with decreased breast cancer incidence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3230-3239
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number28
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes


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