However it should be noted that
However, it should be noted that large proportion of patients develop at least one SRE after BTAs gap junction (74/155, 48%) appearing to be in keeping with the results of randomised BTA trials [3–6]. Indeed, for those patients who had not had an SRE prior to commencing a BTA, their risk of subsequent SREs was much lower than that observed in patients who had had an SRE prior to starting therapy and may therefore identify a potential lower risk patient population for alternative treatment strategies [22–25]. It is of interest that the majority of SRE in this study occurred within first 3 months of starting BTAs, similar observations have been observed before [3,4] where differences in incidence of SREs between pamidronate and placebo became significant after 3–6 months of treatment. This likely reflects the time needed for bone physiology to be modified to reduce SREs such as fractures. In our current series, we saw that 26.8% of SREs were asymptomatic, and thus likely found as a result of routine bone imaging. This is of note, as most prospective trials of BTAs do not report how SREs were identified (i.e., symptomatic vs. asymptomatic radiologic findings). In contrast, retrospective studies (Table 2) are mostly focused on symptomatic SREs, as reflected by the lower incidence of SREs reported, generally around 30% [11–14]. A similarly low incidence of SREs was recently observed in the ZOOM trial, where patients only underwent imaging at the discretion of the treating physician . Indeed, the proportion of clinically significant fractures was lower in our study (17.2%) than in large randomised bisphosphonate trials (25–45%) [4,21,26], while the proportion of patients receiving radiation to bone was higher (68% vs. 10–40%). These frequencies were more in keeping with other retrospective series [11,14]. Comparison of the benefits of BTAs between real world and clinical trial populations is important, for a number of reasons. Firstly, the frequency of radiological investigations is likely significantly less for patients treated in routine clinical practice compared to those entered on a clinical trial . Individuals in the randomized studies underwent skeletal imaging every 12 weeks [4,21,28], and the SREs reported in these trials thus represents the composite of both symptomatic and asymptomatic radiological changes. In our current series bone imaging was performed every 3–5 months as part of systemic assessment of metastatic disease in a 54% of patients, once in 6 months and less frequent in 30%. 12% of patients had some imaging more frequently than every 3 months, mostly as part of follow up with CT scan for rapidly progressive visceral disease. In addition, clinical trial patients usually have a better performance status due to restrictive inclusion criteria; moreover, most of the patients enrolled in BTA trials have metastatic disease confined to skeleton only (55–70%), while in our study a significant proportion of BTA-treated bone metastatic patients also had visceral metastases (68%, 105/155). Again this is comparable with the most of retrospective trials (Table 2). Also of interest is the relatively low incidence of reported ONJ seen in the current series 0.6% again consistent with the literature . As with other series, we have shown that multiple bone metastases, presence bone metastases for more than two years, and occurrence of previous SREs are associated with a risk of further SREs [10,12,30]. Several trials have investigated predictive factors for developing SREs among women with bone metastases secondary to breast cancer on bisphosphonate treatment. Baseline patients characteristics from randomized prospective trials investigating the efficacy of pamidronate in this group found increased SREs risk with presence of more than two osteolytic lesions, high pain scores, and history of prior radiation therapy . Another retrospective analysis of a large prospective trial comparing zoledronic acid to pamidronate in women with bone metastases secondary to breast cancer found that age older than 60, Brief Pain Inventory score higher than 3, prior SREs and predominant lytic bone lesions put patients at an increased higher risk for subsequent SREs . One retrospective study showed increased incidence of SREs in patients with pre-existing osteoporosis .