A randomized, placebo-controlled trial of zoledronic acid in patients with hormone-refractory metastatic prostate carcinoma

J Natl Cancer Inst. 2002 Oct 2;94(19):1458-68. doi: 10.1093/jnci/94.19.1458.


Background: Bone metastases are a common cause of morbidity in patients with prostate carcinoma. We studied the effect of a new bisphosphonate, zoledronic acid, which blocks bone destruction, on skeletal complications in prostate cancer patients with bone metastases.

Methods: Patients with hormone-refractory prostate cancer and a history of bone metastases were randomly assigned to a double-blind treatment regimen of intravenous zoledronic acid at 4 mg (N = 214), zoledronic acid at 8 mg (subsequently reduced to 4 mg; 8/4) (N = 221), or placebo (N = 208) every 3 weeks for 15 months. Proportions of patients with skeletal-related events, time to the first skeletal-related event, skeletal morbidity rate, pain and analgesic scores, disease progression, and safety were assessed. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results: Approximately 38% of patients who received zoledronic acid at 4 mg, 28% who received zoledronic acid at 8/4 mg, and 31% who received placebo completed the study. A greater proportion of patients who received placebo had skeletal-related events than those who received zoledronic acid at 4 mg (44.2% versus 33.2%; difference = -11.0%, 95% confidence interval [CI] = -20.3% to -1.8%; P =.021) or those who received zoledronic acid at 8/4 mg (38.5%; difference versus placebo = -5.8%, 95% CI = -15.1% to 3.6%; P =.222). Median time to first skeletal-related event was 321 days for patients who received placebo, was not reached for patients who received zoledronic acid at 4 mg (P =.011 versus placebo), and was 363 days for those who received zoledronic acid at 8/4 mg (P =.491 versus placebo). Compared with urinary markers in patients who received placebo, urinary markers of bone resorption were statistically significantly decreased in patients who received zoledronic acid at either dose (P =.001). Pain and analgesic scores increased more in patients who received placebo than in patients who received zoledronic acid, but there were no differences in disease progression, performance status, or quality-of-life scores among the groups. Zoledronic acid at 4 mg given as a 15-minute infusion was well tolerated, but the 8-mg dose was associated with renal function deterioration.

Conclusion: Zoledronic acid at 4 mg reduced skeletal-related events in prostate cancer patients with bone metastases.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / drug therapy*
  • Adenocarcinoma / secondary*
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Bone Density / drug effects
  • Bone Neoplasms / complications
  • Bone Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Bone Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Bone Resorption / metabolism
  • Diphosphonates / administration & dosage
  • Diphosphonates / adverse effects
  • Diphosphonates / therapeutic use*
  • Disease Progression
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Imidazoles / administration & dosage
  • Imidazoles / adverse effects
  • Imidazoles / therapeutic use*
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Neoplasms, Hormone-Dependent / drug therapy*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Quality of Life
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Zoledronic Acid


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Biomarkers
  • Diphosphonates
  • Imidazoles
  • Zoledronic Acid