Bones, breasts, and bisphosphonates: Rationale for the use of zoledronic acid in advanced and early breast cancer

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Bisphosphonates inhibit osteoclast-mediated bone resorption, thereby inhibiting the release of growth factors necessary to promote cancer cell growth, differentiation, and tumor formation in bone. These agents have demonstrated efficacy for delaying the onset and reducing the incidence of skeletal-related events in the advanced breast cancer setting, and have been shown to prevent cancer therapy-induced bone loss in the early breast cancer setting. Emerging clinical data indicate that the role of bisphosphonates in advanced and early breast cancer is evolving. Retrospective analyses and recent clinical trial data show that zoledronic acid may improve outcomes in some patients with breast cancer. Data from ABCSG-12 and ZO-FAST suggest that zoledronic acid may improve disease-free survival in the adjuvant breast cancer setting in postmenopausal women or women with endocrine therapy-induced menopause, and recent data from a predefined subset of the AZURE trial added to the anticancer story. However, the overall negative AZURE trial also raises questions about the role of bisphosphonates as an anticancer agent in patients with breast cancer. Overall, these data suggest that the addition of zoledronic acid to established anticancer regimens may have potential anticancer benefits in specific patient populations, although more studies are required to define its role

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalBreast Cancer: Targets and Therapy
Publication statusPublished - Mar 21 2011


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology

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