Bisphosphonate Risedronate Reduces Metastatic Human Breast Cancer Burden in Bone in Nude Mice

Akira Sasaki, Brendan F. Boyce, Beryl Story, Kenneth R. Wright, Mark Chapman, Rogely Boyce, Gregory R. Mundy, Toshiyuki Yoneda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

401 Citations (Scopus)


Human breast cancer frequently metastasizes to the skeleton to cause osteolysis and subsequent pain, pathological fracture, and hypercalcemia. Because bone continuously releases growth factors stored in bone matrix by bone resorption during physiological remodeling and, thus, possibly provides a favorable microenvironment for metastatic breast cancer cells to proliferate, inhibitors of bone resorption used either prophylactically or in patients with established disease, therefore, would seem likely to be useful adjuvant therapy in patients with breast cancer. However, the parameters for monitoring progressive osteolytic bone disease in humans are imprecise. We examined the effects of the third generation bisphosphonate, risedronate, which is a specific inhibitor of osteoclastic bone resorption, in a bone metastasis model in nude mice in which intracardiac injection of the human breast cancer cell line MDA-231 leads to osteolytic bone metastases. Risedronate (4 µg/animal/day) was given s.c. to animals (a) after radiologically small but defined osteolytic metastases were observed; (b) simultaneously with MDA-231 cell inoculation through the entire experimental period; or (c) by short-term prophylactic administration before inoculation of MDA-231 cells. In all experiments, risedronate either slowed progression or inhibited the development of bone metastases assessed radSographically. Furthermore, mice treated continuously with risedronate showed significantly longer survival than did control mice. Histomorphometrical analysis revealed that osteoclast numbers were diminished at metastatic tumor sites. Unexpectedly, there was also a marked decrease in tumor burden in bone in risedronate-treated animals. In contrast, the growth of metastatic breast cancer in soft tissues surrounding bones was not affected by risedronate. Moreover, risedronate had no effects on the local growth of s.c. implanted MDA-231 breast cancers in nude mice or on MDA-231 cell proliferation in culture. These data demonstrate that risedronate decreases metastatic MDA-231 breast cancer burden selectively in bone, as well as suppresses progression of established osteolytic lesions and prevents the development of new osteolytic lesions; thus, the data suggest that inhibition of osteoclastic bone resorption may be a useful adjunctive therapy for the treatment of cancers that have colonized in bone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3551-3557
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Research
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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