New emerging data suggest that bisphosphonates may exert antitumor properties. Preclinical studies have demonstrated that zoledronic acid (ZA) can induce direct and indirect antitumor activities such as inhibition of angiogenesis, invasion and adhesion of tumor cells, and overall tumor progression, stimulation of adoptive and innate immunity and emerging evidence suggests that the use of these agents may prevent the development of skeletal and extra skeletal metastases. This review will critically describe the new growing evidence of antitumor activity exerted by bisphosphonates in cancer patients, both in metastatic disease and in the adjuvant setting. The effects of bisphosphonates on survival in metastatic cancer patients will be described and evidence from retrospective analyses and prospective studies will be critically reported. The early evidence from prospective analyses of survival impact by ZA in the adjuvant setting in breast cancer will be discussed together with the recently published results of the ABCSG-12 study. A new “era” for bisphosphonates in the oncological setting is opening. The clinical data that will be reported in this review represent the first step in a path that will conduct us to explore new horizons in the field of adjuvant and metastatic cancer therapies.
Keywords: Antitumor activity, humans, phase III trials, survival, zoledronic acid
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