Treatment update: Using bisphosphonates for metastatic breast cancer

By Benjamin E. Tuy, MD, and Joseph Benevenia, MD

Because bone is the most common site of metastatic breast cancer, orthopaedic surgeons should be aware of treatment options.

Breast cancer is the leading malignancy affecting women. Approximately 178,480 women will be newly diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007.1 Bone is the most common site of distant metastasis and will be affected in up to 80 percent of cases.2 In vitro studies have shown that breast cancer cells cause both matrix degradation and mineral release in devitalized bone. The primary mechanism of tumor-induced osteolysis in breast cancer, however, involves the release of factors from tumor cells activating osteoclastic bone resorption.

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