Author(s): Kurata T, Nakagawa K
Bone metastases are known to be caused by all types of cancer. Cancer metastasis to bone has been said to considerably compromise patients' quality of life and adversely affect lifetime prognosis. Although progress in cancer treatment has prolonged survival significantly, this may make increased numbers of patients suffer from bone metastases. Until now, as for the treatment of bone metastases, local therapies, including radiation therapy and surgery, were performed mainly as palliative therapies. However, bisphosphonate-based therapies have recently become available and are frequently administered to delay or prevent skeletal-related events, which include pathologic bone fracture, spinal cord compression, radiologic treatment for bone lesions, surgical procedures for bone lesions and hypercalcemia. Moreover, denosumab, the first fully human monoclonal antibody to receptor activator of nuclear factor κ-B ligand, was approved in the USA because of its evidence-supported clinical effects. Denosumab was effective for prolonging the time to skeletal-related events and inhibiting the onset of pain via the suppression of osteoclast activation. Denosumab has been shown to have a greater effect compared with zoledronic acid, most notably in patients with breast or prostate cancer. In this article, the efficacy and safety of denosumab for the treatment of bone metastases in patients with various advanced cancers are discussed.