Optimal management of metastatic bone disease

Pierre Major
European Journal of Oncology Nursing: the Official Journal of European Oncology Nursing Society 2007, 11 Suppl 2: S32-7

OBJECTIVES: Skeletal-related events (SREs) from bone metastases are a major cause of morbidity and significantly decrease patients' quality of life. Strategies for the optimal management of SREs with bisphosphonates are explored.

METHODS: Existing and novel therapies were identified and published guidelines were reviewed through PubMed key word searches.

RESULTS: Nitrogen-containing bisphosphonates effectively reduce the risk of SREs in patients with bone metastases from a variety of solid tumors and bone lesions from multiple myeloma. Review of placebo-controlled trials in breast cancer patients with bone metastases indicated that zoledronic acid produced the greatest SRE risk reduction of all bisphosphonates evaluated. Zoledronic acid has demonstrated significant long-term benefits for prevention of SREs and palliative effects for bone pain. Zoledronic acid also improves quality of life. Analysis of recent trials indicates that early zoledronic acid intervention provides greater benefit in asymptomatic patients.

CONCLUSIONS: Patients with malignant bone disease are at a continuous risk for SREs, and bisphosphonates reduce the incidence and delay the onset of SREs. Zoledronic acid has demonstrated the greatest SRE risk reduction of all bisphosphonates and significantly improves pain scores in patients with breast cancer. Zoledronic acid is the only bisphosphonate to show efficacy in prostate cancer, lung cancer, and other solid tumors.

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