Bisphosphonates for metastatic bone disease in lung cancer

Nimit Ashwinbhai Shah, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Bisphosphonates have proven effectiveness in preventing skeletal-related events (SREs) in advanced breast cancer, prostate cancer and multiple myeloma. The purpose of this study was to assess efficacy of bisphosphonates in preventing SREs, in controlling pain, and in increasing life expectancy in lung cancer patients with bone metastases. We performed an electronic search in MEDLINE, EMBASE, Web of Science, and Cochrane library databases up to April 4, 2010. Hand searching and searching in were also performed. Two independent reviewers selected all clinical trials that included lung cancer patients with bone metastases treated with bisphosphonates. We excluded articles that involved cancers other than lung, patients without bone metastasis and treatment other than bisphosphonates. Outcome questions answered were efficacy measured as overall pain control, overall improvement in survival and reduction in skeletal-related events or SREs (fracture, cord compression, radiation or surgery to the bone, hypercalcemia of malignancy). The quality of each study was evaluated using the Cochrane Back Review group questionnaire to assess risk of bias (0-worst to 11-best). Data extraction and quality assessments were independently performed by two assessors. Meta-analyses were performed where more than one study with similar outcomes were found. We identified eight trials that met our inclusion criteria. Three studies evaluated zoledronic acid, three pamidronate, three clodronate and two ibandronate. Two were placebocontrol trials while two had multi-group comparisons (radiotherapy, radionucleotides, and chemotherapy) and two had different bisphosphonate as active controls. Quality scores ranged from 1-4 out of 11 suggesting high risk of bias. Studies failed to report adequate explanation of randomization procedures, concealment of randomization and blinding. Metaanalysis showed that patients treated with zoledronic acid alone had lower rates of developing SREs compared to placebo at 21 months (RR=0.80, 95% CI=0.66-0.97, p=0.02). Meta-analyses also showed increased pain control when a bisphosphonate was added to the existing treatment modality like chemotherapy or radiation (RR=1.17, 95% CI=1.03-1.34, p=0.02). However, pain control was not statistically significantly different among various bisphosphonates when other treatment modalities were not present. Despite improvement in SRE and pain control, bisphosphonates failed to show improvement in overall survival (Difference in means=109.1 days, 95% CI= -51.52 – 269.71, p=0.183). Adding biphosphonates to standard care improved pain control and reduced SREs. Biphosphonates did not improve overall survival. Further larger studies with higher quality are required to stengthen the evidence. Keywords/MeSH terms Bisphosphonates/diphosphonates: generic, chemical and trade names.

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Recommended Citation

Shah, Nimit Ashwinbhai, "Bisphosphonates for metastatic bone disease in lung cancer" (2011). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1500984.