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Bone. 2011 Jan;48(1):71-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2010.07.016. Epub 2010 Jul 22.

Bisphosphonates' antitumor activity: an unravelled side of a multifaceted drug class.

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INSERM, Research Unit U664, University of Lyon-1, Faculty of Medicine Lyon-Est (domaine Laennec), rue Guillaume Paradin, 69372 Lyon Cedex 08, France.


Bisphosphonates, especially nitrogen-containing bisphosphonates (N-BPs), are widely used to preserve and improve bone health in patients with cancer because they inhibit osteoclast-mediated bone resorption. In addition to their effects on bone, preclinical evidence strongly suggests that N-BPs exert anticancer activity without the involvement of osteoclasts by interacting with macrophages, endothelial cells and tumor cells, and by stimulating the cytotoxicity of γδ T cells, a subset of human T cells. This review examines the current insights and fronts of ongoing preclinical research on N-BPs' antitumor activity.

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