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Semin Oncol. 2003 Apr;30(2 Suppl 5):1-4.

Gallium nitrate revisited.

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Division of Neoplastic Diseases, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI 53226, USA.


Gallium nitrate, the nitrate salt of the "near-metal" element gallium, is highly effective in the treatment of cancer-related hypercalcemia. Unlike bisphosphonates, gallium nitrate is effective in both parathyroid hormone-related protein-mediated and non-parathyroid hormone-related protein-mediated hypercalcemia. Gallium nitrate's effects on bone are clearly different from those of bisphosphonates. Gallium nitrate enhances calcium and phosphate content of bone and has direct, noncytotoxic effects on osteoclasts at markedly lower doses than those used for the treatment of cancer-related hypercalcemia. The drug may have clinical application in a variety of disorders associated with accelerated bone loss, including multiple myeloma. Gallium nitrate was originally evaluated as an antitumor agent. Its antitumor activity occurs at somewhat higher doses than those used in the treatment of cancer-related hypercalcemia. Gallium nitrate has substantial single-agent activity in the treatment of advanced lymphoma, particularly diffuse large cell lymphoma, small lymphocytic lymphoma, and follicular lymphoma. Because of its profile, including a different mechanism of action and minimal myelosuppression, the drug merits further evaluation in the treatment of advanced lymphoma. Gallium nitrate also has activity in advanced bladder cancer and may be useful in patients with metastatic or unresectable disease failing first-line chemotherapy regimens. Gallium nitrate exhibits a range of dose-dependent pharmacologic actions that provide a basis for its therapeutic potential in a variety of diseases and warrants further investigational evaluation as an antiresorptive and antitumor agent.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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