Anna was a 68 year-old woman with ER/PR positive stage IV breast cancer showing extensive bone metastasis. Her Oncologist had prescribed a treatment regimen of Tamoxifen and Clodronate.
After a review of Anna’s medical records and life history our research showed that for Anna, this combination was ineffective.
Clodronate belongs to a class of drugs called ‘bisphosphonates’ that prevent the loss of bone mass by inhibiting the bone cells that break down bone tissue. However, Clodronate does not prevent bone metastasis.
Zoledronic acid also belongs to the bisphosphonate group of drugs but Zoledronic acid has been repeatedly shown to directly prevent metastasis. Zoledronic acid inhibits metastasis by reducing the occurrence of circulating tumour cells and inhibiting growth factors that induce breast cancer cell migration. It has also been shown to be particularly effective in women who have been post-menopausal for more than 5yrs and not recently had chemotherapy.
We made a recommendation to her Oncologist that she be switched from Clodronate to Zoledronic acid immediately. Her Oncologist’s first response was to resist and insist that the Clodronate would work eventually. We had to be a persistent advocate for Anna but we soon were able to get the Oncologist to agree that the science made a sound argument for Zoledronic acid.
Within 2 months of receiving Zoledronic acid, Anna’s tumor markers went down significantly. In fact, recent bone scans showed the resolution of multiple metastatic legions. Anna is now feeling much more energized and is well on the road to recovery.
Had she not come to see us, and instead continued on the standard protocol her Oncologist recommended, the metastasis almost certainly have increased, not decreased, and she would likely not be with us today.