Patients with metastatic cancer and bone involvement are at chronic risk of skeletal complications, including bone pain, fractures, spinal cord compression and hypercalcaemia of malignancy. Therapies targeting the primary malignancy are often unable to prevent skeletal complications, which often require orthopaedic surgery, radiation therapy and analgesics. Intravenous bisphosphonates can reduce the risk of skeletal complications and the requirement for palliative radiation therapy. Since its broad regulatory approval, zoledronic acid (ZOMETA®, Novartis Pharma AG/Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation) 4 mg by 15-minute intravenous infusion has become widely used to treat bone metastases from all solid tumours and is becoming the standard of care for advanced breast cancer and multiple myeloma. Additionally, cancer treatment-induced bone loss is an emerging problem in clinical oncology, and bisphosphonates - particularly intravenous bisphosphonates - may provide benefits even before bone lesions develop. Further investigations of bisphosphonates in these and other indications are ongoing.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pharmacology (medical)