Bone drug might stop early lung cancer spread

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
zoledronic acid and lung cancer

The bone drug, zoledronic acid, might stop lung cancer metastasis in it's early stages, found in a first study. The medication is used to manage cancer that has spread to the bones. Now researchers say the drug, given early, might stop lung cancer from spreading.

Zoledronic acid stops angiogenesis

Dr Michela Quirino and colleagues from the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome say zoledronic acid prevents angiogenesis, or new blood vessel growth that tumors need to survive.

"Our investigation represents the first clear clinical evidence of the anti-angiogenic effect of zoledronic acid in patients with metastatic lung cancer," Dr Quirino said. "It also represents the first biological basis in lung cancer for the clinical investigation of zoledronic acid not only for metastatic lung cancer, but also in early disease."


In the study, molecular markers of new blood vessel growth were measured before and after administration of the drug, that included VEGF, PDGF, b-FGF and HGF.

Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF), is an especially important and dominating regulator of tumor angiogenesis. Without new blood vessels, tumors cannot grow, send signals and spread to other parts of the body. VEGF is also thought to help other tumors survive.

"We found a statistically significant reduction of VEGF levels at day 2 after 4 mg ZA intravenous infusion compared with basal values," Dr Quirino said. Blood levels of bFGF were also significantly reduced. "Some studies reported that VEGF secretion is induced by bFGF and this could support our results," she added.

The researchers, from the European Society of Medical Oncology did not find any effect on PDGF and HGF from the medication.

Past studies have found zoledronic acid can improve cancer survival rates. If the current findings are confirmed, the drug may have an important role for preventing the spread of early lung cancer.