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Bone Health in Cancer Patients: ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines

R. Coleman, J. J. Body, M. Aapro, P. Hadji, J. Herrstedt on behalf of the ESMO Guidelines Working Group

Annals of Oncology 2014; 25(suppl 3): iii124–iii137

Abstract:

There are three distinct areas of cancer management that make bone health in cancer patients of increasing clinical importance. First, bone metastases are common in many solid tumours, notably those arising from the breast, prostate and lung, as well as multiple myeloma, and may cause major morbidity including fractures, severe pain, nerve compression and hypercalcaemia. Through optimum multidisciplinary management of patients with bone metastases, including the use of bone-targeted treatments such as potent bisphosphonates or denosumab, it has been possible to transform the course of advanced cancer for many patients resulting in a major reduction in skeletal complications, reduced bone pain and improved quality of life. Secondly, many of the treatments we use to treat cancer patients have effects on reproductive hormones, which are critical for the maintenance of normal bone remodelling. This endocrine disturbance results in accelerated bone loss and an increased risk of osteoporosis and fractures that can have a significant negative impact on the lives of the rapidly expanding number of long-term cancer survivors. Finally, the bone marrow micro-environment is also intimately involved in the metastatic processes required for cancer dissemination, and there are emerging data showing that, at least in some clinical situations, the use of bone-targeted treatments can reduce metastasis to bone and has potential impact on patient survival.

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