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Bisphosphonate treatment and radiotherapy in metastatic breast cancer
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Patients with advanced breast cancer frequently develop metastasis to bone. Bone metastasis results in intractable pain and high risk of pathologic fractures due to osteolysis. The treatment of breast cancer patients with bone metastases requires a multidisciplinary approach. Radiotherapy is an established treatment for metastatic bone pain. It may be delivered either as a localized low dose treatment for localized bone pain or systemically for more widespread symptoms. Bisphosphonates have been shown to reduce morbidity and bone pain from bone metastases when given to patients with metastatic bone disease. In vivo studies indicate that early bisphosphonates administration in combination with radiotherapy improves remineralization and restabilization of osteolytic bone metastases in animal tumor models. This review focused on a brief discussion about biology of bone metastases, the effects of radiotherapy and bisphosphonate therapy, and possible mechanisms of combination therapy in metastatic breast cancer patients.