Many patients with advanced cancer experience decreased bone strength due to metastatic foci, underlying osteoporosis and/or cancer treatment induced bone loss. The clinical consequences of metastatic disease involving the skeleton are widespread. This review focuses on the efficacy, pharmacology, and safety when using intravenous biphosphonate such a zoledronic acid for cancer bone metastases. Zoledronic acid is the gold standard for the medical management of metastatic bone disease. The indications for treatment include prevention of skeletal relevant events (SRE), osteoporotic complications, and palliation of bone pain, among others. Zoledronic acid is the only bisphosphonate effective in decreasing SREs associated with bone metastases from advanced renal cell carcinoma and prostate cancer. Regarding prostate cancer, zoledronic acid effectively prevents both bone loss in patients with locally advanced disease receiving androgen deprivation therapy and SREs in men with hormone-refractory or hormone-sensitive metastatic disease. Zoledronic acid has an acceptable safety profile and tolerability, and has been effective at significantly decreasing the incidence, delaying the onset, and reducing the overall risk of experiencing an SRE compared to placebo. It is the only bisphosphonate currently approved for the prevention and treatment of skeletal complications in patients with bone metastases due to all solid tumors.
Keywords: advanced prostate cancer; metastatic bone disease; osteoporosis; skeletal relevant events; zoledronic acid.