The following article features coverage from the 2017 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS) in San Antonio, Texas. Click here to read more of Oncology Nurse Advisor‘s conference coverage. 

Bone is a common site of metastases in patients with breast cancer. It is rarely cured and commonly treated with bisphosphonates and the human monoclonal RANKL-antibody denosumab, which delay its progression and improve quality of life. Researchers from the University of Saarland in Germany investigated the effectiveness of bisphosphonates or denosumab in preventing skeletal-related events (SREs) in patients with breast cancer metastases to the bone. Their findings were presented at the 2017 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS 2017).

Skeletal-related events were classified as a pathological fracture, a bone surgery, a spinal cord compression, or radiation of a bone metastasis. The study was a retrospective analysis of 143 patients with breast cancer, with bone metastases at the department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at the University of Saarland between October 2009 and October 2013.

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An skeletal-related event occurred in 95 patients. Among those treated with only bisphosphonates, 65% experienced an SRE. In patients treated with only denosumab, 65.5% experienced an SRE. “This data suggests that the antirestorative therapy with denosumab is equal to the bisphosphonate therapy to prevent the first skeletal-related events in patients with bone metastasis of breast cancer,” remarked the researchers. However, “after the first SRE, patients benefit significantly from an antirestorative therapy compared to no treatment.”


von Heesen A, Nilges K, Radosa J, et al. Incidence of skeletal-related events in patients suffering of bone matastasis from breast cancer treated with bisphosphonates or denosumab. Poster Presentation at: 2017 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium; December 6-9, 2017; San Antonio, TX. Abstract P1-16-05.