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Br J Cancer. 2005 May 23;92(10):1869-76.

Zoledronic acid significantly improves pain scores and quality of life in breast cancer patients with bone metastases: a randomised, crossover study of community vs hospital bisphosphonate administration.

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  • 1Christie Hospital NHS Trust, 550 Wilmslow Road, Manchester M20 4BX, UK.


Patients with bone metastases from breast cancer often experience substantial skeletal complications -- including debilitating bone pain -- which negatively affect quality of life. Zoledronic acid (4 mg) has been demonstrated to reduce significantly the risk of skeletal complications in these patients and is administered via a short, 15-min infusion every 3 weeks, allowing the possibility for home administration. This study compared the efficacy and safety of zoledronic acid administered in the community setting vs the hospital setting in breast cancer patients with > or =1 bone metastasis receiving hormonal therapy. After a lead-in phase of three infusions of 4 mg zoledronic acid in the hospital setting, 101 patients were randomized to receive three open-label infusions in the community or hospital setting, followed by three infusions in the opposite venue (a total of nine infusions). The Brief Pain Inventory (BPI) and the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Core Questionnaire 30 (EORTC QLQ-C30) were used to assess potential benefits of zoledronic acid therapy. At study end, analysis of the BPI showed significant reductions in worst pain (P=0.008) and average pain in the last 7 days (P=0.039), and interference with general activity (P=0.012). In each case, there were significantly greater improvements in pain scores after treatment in the community setting compared with the hospital crossover setting for worst pain (P=0.021), average pain (P=0.003), and interference with general activity (P=0.001). Overall global health status showed a significant median improvement of 8.3% (P=0.013) at study end. Physical, emotional, and social functioning also showed significant overall improvement (P=0.013, 0.005, and 0.043, respectively). Furthermore, physical, role, and social functioning showed significantly greater improvements after treatment in the community setting compared with the hospital crossover setting (P=0.018, 0.001, and 0.026, respectively). There was no difference between hospital and community administration in renal or other toxicity, with zoledronic acid being well tolerated in both treatment settings. These data confirm the safety and quality-of-life benefits of zoledronic acid in breast cancer patients with bone metastases, particularly when administered in the community setting.

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