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Greater efforts needed to address cancer therapies’ effects on bone health

Peer Reviewed, Review, Human

Published: 06 Feb 2019 in Journal news

A new British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology review examines the impact of cancer therapies on the skeleton and how to limit bone loss and fractures in cancer patients treated with these therapies.

The review notes that efforts to limit the effects of cancer therapies on bone have nearly universally employed anti-resorptive agents that reduce bone turnover, and studies have not typically assessed whether these medications reduce patients’ fracture risk. In addition, despite clearly written and straightforward guidelines, vulnerable eligible patients are often neither identified nor provided with appropriate treatments to limit the skeletal impact of their cancer therapies.

“While providers of cancer therapies are rightfully focused on optimising care approaches for cancer treatment, it is important that providers also recognize that many of these same therapies have effects that extend beyond the cancer itself,” said co-author Dr. Matthew T. Drake, of the Mayo Clinic. “The skeleton is one of the most important organs affected by cancer therapies, and the early judicious use of approaches to limit these off-target skeletal effects is critical to long-term patient health.”