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Management of bone metastasis with intravenous bisphosphonates in breast cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis of dosing frequency



Bisphosphonates are wildly used in breast cancer patients with bone metastasis and generally administrated every 4 weeks to lessen the risk of subsequent skeletal-related events. Bisphosphonates administration every 12 weeks is also recommended in some guidelines. Recent clinical trials suggested that bisphosphonate treatment with reduced frequency (every 12 weeks) to be non-inferior to standard therapy. The object of this analysis was to contrast the efficacy and safety of these two treatment strategies.


We systematically retrieved databases such as MEDLINE, PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane library from 1947 to present for clinical trials comparing the efficacy between standard (every 4 weeks) and de-escalation (every 12 weeks) treatment of bisphosphates.


We identified 4 articles with available data from 4 randomized clinical trials (n = 1721). Administration of bisphosphate every 12 weeks was non-inferior to administration every 4 weeks. There existed no significant difference in on-study skeletal-related events, renal dysfunction, and osteonecrosis of jaw. In the exploratory study, patients who received intravenous bisphosphates before enrollment experienced less on-study skeletal-related events and significant difference was observed between groups.


This analysis suggested that de-escalation treatment with bisphosphates may be superior to standard treatment in terms of efficacy, safety, and economic costs. But it would be better that all the patients receive bisphosphates every 4 weeks for several months before de-escalation.

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This work was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81770875, 81572639), the Science and Technology Department of Sichuan Province (2018SZ0142), the Sichuan University (No. 2018SCUH0093), and the National Clinical Research Center for Geriatrics of West China Hospital (No. Z2018B05), 1.3.5 project for disciplines of excellence, West China Hospital, Sichuan University (ZYGD18022).

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Correspondence to Xijie Yu.

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Yang, M., Yu, X. Management of bone metastasis with intravenous bisphosphonates in breast cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis of dosing frequency. Support Care Cancer (2020).

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  • Breast cancer
  • Bone metastasis
  • Bisphosphates
  • De-escalation treatment
  • Skeletal related events