YH529, [1-hydroxy-2-(imidazo [1,2-a] pyridin-3-yl) ethylidene]-bisphosphonic acid monohydrate, is a newly developed third-generation bisphosphonate with a potent inhibitory activity toward osteoclastic bone resorption. The primary cellular mechanism of osteolysis associated with metastatic cancer is osteoclast-mediated. It is likely that bisphosphonates would be efficacious in this situation. In the present study, we examined the effect of YH529 in a nude mice bone metastasis model, in which the intracardiac injection of a human breast cancer cell line, MDA-MB-231 (MDA-231), leads to osteolytic bone metastases. To examine whether YH529 would prevent such bone metastasis, we administered YH529 s.c. to nude mice simultaneously with cancer cell inoculation through the entire experimental period (protocol 1) or performed short-term prophylactic administration before inoculation of the MDA-231 cells (protocol 2). In addition, to examine the possible therapeutic effects of the drug on established bone metastases, we injected YH529 after radiographically small but distinct osteolytic bone metastases had been detected (protocol 3). In all protocols, YH529 (2 microg/mouse/day) markedly inhibited bone metastases as well as the progression of established metastatic foci that were quantified on the radiographs. Histological examination and histomorphometrical analysis revealed that YH529 markedly reduced the number of osteoclasts and the size of the tumor at the metastatic bone sites. Our results suggest that YH529 may suppress metastasis formation and tumor growth in bone through inhibition of osteoclastic bone resorption.