The Effect of the Bisphosphonate Ibandronate on Breast Cancer Metastasis to Visceral Organs
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Bisphosphonate (BPs), specific inhibitors of osteoclastic bone resorption, are widely used therapeutic agents for bone metastases in breast cancer patients. Nevertheless, the effects of BPs on visceral metastases are controversial. Here we specifically studied the effects of the BP ibandronate on visceral metastases of breast cancer using two animal models. In the first set of experiments, we examined the effects of ibandronate on lung metastasis using 4T1 mouse mammary tumor that developed pulmonary and bone metastases following orthotopic inoculation in syngeneic female Balb/c mice. In the second set of experiments, we examined the effects of ibandronate on adrenal metastasis using a clone of the MDA-MB-231 (MDA-231) human breast cancer (MDA-231AD cells) that developed adrenal and bone metastases following intracardiac inoculation in female nude mice. These breast cancer cells were stably transfected with a firefly luciferase cDNA to facilitate quantification of the metastatic tumor burden in visceral organs. Ibandronate (4 µg/day, sc, daily) was given either after metastases were established (therapeutic administration) or at the time of tumor cell inoculation (preventative administration). In both models with each protocol, ibandronate reproducibly reduced bone metastases, establishing that BPs are effective pharmacological agents for the treatment of bone metastases in breast cancer. In the 4T1 model, neither the preventative nor therapeutic administration of ibandronate caused any effects on lung metastases. In the MDA-231 model, the preventative administration of ibandronate significantly increased adrenal metastases. However, no increase in the adrenal metastases was observed when an anti-cancer agent doxorubicin was co-administered. Therapeutic administration of ibandronate showed no effects on the adrenal metastases. Our results suggest that BPs cause no adverse effects on visceral metastases when administered in the manners that breast cancer patients usually receive.
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