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Drug Thwarts Bone Loss in Prostate Cancer Patients: Study

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Amgen's experimental bone-loss drug denosumab increased bone density and prevented fractures among clinical trial participants being treated for prostate cancer, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing company research.

The injected drug was evaluated among 1,400 men who were being treated with prostate cancer therapy that blocks male hormones including testosterone, increasing their risk for weakened bones and fractures. Those who took denosumab fractured vertebrae at less than half the rate of those who took a placebo, the newspaper said.

The drug works by blocking certain immune system defenses, which could increase users' risk of infection. Serious infections were reported among 6 percent of denosumab users, versus 5 percent of those who took a placebo.

An estimated 186,000 U.S. men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year, the American Cancer Society predicts. And according to the National Cancer Institute, about half of all men with the disease are treated at some point with hormone therapy, the newspaper said.

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