Lilly's Evista has breast cancer benefits

Evista works to prevent and treat osteoporosis, but its manufacturer, Eli Lilly, found that it might also be useful for preventing one type of breast cancer. The drug's generic name is raloxifene.

According to a study of 10,000 women published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, those taking the drug were 55 percent less likely to develop a hormonal type of breast cancer than were women taking a placebo drug. The women in the study were looking to see if the drug would help prevent heart disease, but Evista had no positive findings in that arena.

Unlike bisphosphonates, Evista is a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) and prevents osteoporosis by acting at the estrogen receptors. While it makes sense that its breast cancer benefits would likely be limited to estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer, this is the first study validating that logic. Estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer is the most common type of breast cancer.

- check out the Evista release for more