Will denosumab be offered to early-stage breast cancer patients?

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Question from RHU: With the report that denosumab is more effective than Zometa in dealing with skeletal events in advanced cancer, do you think denosumab will be offered to early-stage breast cancer patients, as Zometa is now to prevent metastasis?
Answers - Kathy D. Miller, M.D. The first thing is to review the results of the denosumab study. This is a very different agent. It inhibits the activation of a type of cell called an osteoclast. Those are the cells that are responsible for destruction of the bones. It was directly compared to Zometa (chemical name: zoledronic acid) in women with newly identified metastatic disease involving the bones. The women had not previously been treated with Zometa. The women who were treated with denosumab had fewer complications of the disease in their bones or had a longer time until those complications developed. We expect the study to result in the FDA approval of this agent for treatment of women with metastatic disease that involves the bones, but currently this drug does not yet have FDA approval. This drug has also been studied for treatment of bone loss and osteopenia and it's likely that it will be approved for use in that setting before the FDA has had time to fully review the new information about its use in bone metastasis. There is great interest in studying this drug for women with earlier stage disease to prevent recurrence, but we couldn't recommend its routine usage in that setting.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Updates From the 2009 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium featured Kathy Miller, M.D. and Kristin Brill, M.D., F.A.C.S. answering your questions about the latest updates on breast cancer risk, screening techniques, treatment options, and more.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in December 2009.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

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