Dr. Alison T Stopeck A unique drug seems to have come into the forefront for tackling cancer. According to a groundbreaking study, monthly injections of denosumab in breast cancer patients can withhold and decrease pain as well as restrict complications with less toxicity than other present day treatments. This medication may be effective for breast cancer patients whose disease has spread to other parts of the body.

The international, Phase III, randomized, double-blind study examined 2,046 advanced breast cancer patients. Throughout the analysis, effects of denosumab subcutaneously and zoledronic acid intravenously were monitored. Denosumab apparently hampers the cells causing bone destruction and declines the risk of skeletal-related events by 18 percent. The drug seems to be a better alternative than zoledronic acid (Zometa). When compared to zoledronic acid, denosumab reduces chances of developing multiple SREs by 23 percent. Patients subjected to Zometa probably underwent side effects linked with more acute-phase reactions like fever, other flu-like symptoms and renal complication.

Dr. Alison T. Stopeck, director of the Arizona Cancer Center’s clinical breast cancer program and lead investigator, highlighted, “What is exciting about the trial is now we have a new therapy for our patients with bone metastases that is more efficacious, less toxic and more convenient to administer. Denosumab is a truly novel agent as it specifically targets the cells responsible for the bone damage, resorption and destruction caused by bone metastases that lead for complications and pain. Denosumab also significantly delayed the time patients began experiencing moderate or severe pain compared to Zometa. What’s most important for patients is preventing pain. The pain is what makes bone metastases so brutal.”

The overall survival and disease progression rates were similar among all the study participants. The subcutaneous denosumab injection may not trigger kidney toxicity. Effects of denosumab supposedly take minutes, but Zometa requires several hours and blood work before the intravenous administration of the therapy. The new medication is currently being examined in various tumor types across the spectrum of cancer-related bone diseases.

The study was published in a recent issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.