Author(s): Coleman R, Gnant M, Morgan G, Clezardin P
Bone-targeted treatments with bisphosphonates and denosumab, which reduce bone resorption, are known to reduce the risk of skeletal complications and prevent treatment-induced bone loss in patients with malignant bone disease. Additionally, these drugs may modify the course of bone destruction via inhibitory effects on the "vicious cycle" of growth factor and cytokine signaling between tumor and bone cells within the bone marrow microenvironment. Effects of the drugs on the stem cell niche, direct effects on the cancer cells, and immune modulation may also contribute. In early-stage (stages I, II, and III) breast cancer, treatment with the bisphosphonate zoledronic acid has shown improvements in disease-free and overall survival. Improved survival was particularly notable in women with established menopause at diagnosis and in premenopausal women with endocrine-responsive disease who received treatment with goserelin, which suppresses ovarian function by inhibiting the production of ovarian hormones. Additionally, in castrate-resistant prostate cancer, treatment with denosumab delays the development of bone metastases. These results strongly support the adjuvant use of bone-targeted treatments but suggest that reproductive hormones are an important treatment modifier to take into account. In advanced-stage (stage IV, ie, metastatic) cancers, survival benefits have been observed in patients with multiple myeloma and in patients with other solid tumors with rapid rates of bone destruction who received treatment with zoledronic acid. Here, we have critically reviewed the increasing evidence to support a disease-modifying effect of bone-targeted treatment and discussed the impact on clinical management.