Cancer Spreads in Zometa Study

Prostate cancer treated with Zometa did not prevent bone metastasis

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) Many cancer patients take medications to prevent the disease from returning or spreading. One medication designed to prevent cancer from spreading to the bones fell short in a recent study.

A large European study has found that Zometa (zoledronic acid) was not effective in preventing bone metastasis (spread) in high-risk prostate cancer patients.

This research study found that Zometa did not help men live longer either.

"Research your cancer risks."

Professor Manfred Wirth, Dr. med., professor of urology and head of the Department of Urology at the Technical University of Dresden in Germany, led the Zometa European Study (ZEUS).

The study involved 1,392 high-risk cancer patients who were randomly assigned to receive either Zometa or a placebo.

High risk was defined as having a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) level of 20 ng/mL or more, having a Gleason score of 8-10 and/or having lymph node involvement.

Gleason scores, which range from 1 to 10, are a measure of the aggressiveness of prostate cancer.

Participants were followed for a median of nearly five years.

The mean dosage of Zometa given was 48 mg. A single dose of Zometa is 4 mg.

Of the 702 men who received Zometa, 13.7 percent developed bone metastasis, compared to 13 percent of 691 men in the control group.

Of the men who had undergone surgery to remove the prostate (prostatectomy), bone metastasis occurred in 11.3 percent in the Zometa group compared to 9.9 percent of the control group.

Bone metastasis rates were the same in men who had not received prostatectomy.

The study found no difference in the survival rates among the men in both groups.

Common adverse events (serious side effects) included fever and flu-like symptoms, joint pain and death of the jaw bone (jaw osteonecrosis).

"There is no difference in the incidence of bone metastases and there is no difference in survival," Dr. Wirth said.

Prof. Wirth reported these initial ZEUS findings at the 48th Annual European Association of Urology Congress on March 19. All research is considered preliminary before it is published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
March 19, 2013
Last Updated:
March 22, 2013