Toward new horizons: The future of bisphosphonate therapy

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53 Scopus citations


Bisphosphonate therapy has become a standard of care for patients with malignant bone disease. In addition, preclinical and preliminary clinical data suggest that bisphosphonates may prevent cancer-treatment-induced bone loss (CTIBL) and the development of malignant bone disease in patients with early-stage cancer. Patients who receive adjuvant hormonal therapy for breast cancer or androgen-deprivation therapy for prostate cancer are at an especially high risk for CTIBL because of reduced estrogenic signaling. Oral clodronate (Bonefos®; Anthra Pharmaceuticals; Princeton, NJ), oral risedronate (Actonel®; Proctor and Gamble Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Cincinnati, OH), and i.v. zoledronic acid (Zometa®; Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp.; East Hanover, NJ) have all demonstrated promise in preventing CTIBL in patients receiving hormonal therapy for breast cancer. Zoledronic acid has demonstrated efficacy with the longest between-treatment interval (3-6 months) and is currently being investigated in the Zometa®/Femara® Adjuvant Synergy Trials (Z-FAST and ZO-FAST in the United States and Europe, respectively). In patients receiving androgen-deprivation therapy for prostate cancer, i.v. pamidronate (Aredia®; Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp.) and i.v. zoledronic acid both have demonstrated significant benefits over placebo, but only zoledronic acid produced significant increases in bone mineral density compared with baseline values. Additionally, bisphosphonates have demonstrated antitumor activities in preclinical models, and clinical trials with oral clodronate suggest that bisphosphonates might prevent or delay bone metastasis in patients with early-stage breast cancer. Clinical trials are investigating the effect of zoledronic acid on disease progression in patients with breast cancer, prostate cancer, and non-small cell lung cancer. The results of these clinical trials should further define the clinical benefit of bisphosphonates in the oncology setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-47
Number of pages10
Issue numberSUPPL. 4
StatePublished - 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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