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Trends Mol Med. 2004 Jul;10(7):337-43.

Bisphosphonates: new therapeutic agents for the treatment of bone tumors.

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Laboratoire de Physiopathologie de la Résorption Osseuse et Thérapie des Tumeurs Osseuses Primitives. Faculté de Médecine, 1 rue Gaston Veil, 44035 Nantes 1, France.


Bisphosphonates (BPs) have been used successfully for many years to reduce the skeletal complications associated with the benign and malignant bone diseases that are characterized by enhanced osteoclastic bone resorption. Until recently, it was thought that the clinical efficacy of BPs in the treatment of cancer patients with bone metastases was purely a result of the inhibition of osteoclast-mediated bone resorption. However, recent studies have demonstrated that BPs inhibit the growth, attachment and invasion of cancer cells in culture and promote their apoptosis. These results suggest that BPs are also anti-cancer agents, raising the possibility that BPs could inhibit cancer-cell colonization in visceral organs. However, results from clinical trials are conflicting, and whether BPs possess anti-cancer effects or not remains controversial.

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