Use of bone-modifying agents among breast cancer patients with bone metastasis: evidence from oncology practices in the US

Clin Epidemiol. 2018 Sep 26;10:1349-1358. doi: 10.2147/CLEP.S175063. eCollection 2018.


Purpose: Bone-modifying agents (BMAs) are recommended for women with bone metastasis from breast cancer to prevent skeletal-related events. We examined the usage patterns and identified the factors associated with the use of BMAs (denosumab and intravenous bisphosphonates) among women in the US.

Patients and methods: Electronic health records from oncology clinics were used to identify women diagnosed with bone metastasis from breast cancer between 2013 and 2014. Patients were excluded if they had recently used a BMA or had concurrent cancer at an additional primary site. The incidence of BMA initiation, interruption, and reinitiation were estimated using competing risk regression models. A generalized linear model was used to estimate risk factors for treatment initiation and interruption.

Results: There were 589 women diagnosed with bone metastasis from breast cancer. By 1 year, 68% of these patients (95% CI: 64%, 71%) had initiated treatment with a BMA. Denosumab and zoledronic acid were the most commonly used agents, whereas pamidronate was used infrequently. Young women were more likely to initiate a BMA than older women (adjusted risk difference: 6.4 [95% CI: 1.5, 10.9]). Of the 412 patients who initiated a BMA, 46% (95% CI: 41%, 51%) experienced an interruption within 1 year. Seventy-four percent (95% CI: 68%, 79%) of patients who interrupted their treatment had reinitiated therapy within 1 year of interruption.

Conclusion: The majority of women diagnosed with bone metastasis from breast cancer initiate a BMA within 1 year of diagnosis, but a large proportion, particularly among the elderly, do not use these therapies.

Keywords: bone metastasis; bone-modifying agents; breast cancer; denosumab; electronic health records; pamidronate; treatment patterns; zoledronic acid.