Bone metastasis is a serious complication of advanced cancer. It is most commonly observed in patients with metastatic breast and prostate cancers, but also occurs in most other metastatic solid cancers. Without treatment, patients may experience complications including intractable bone pain, hypercalcemia, fracture, spinal cord compression and/or a requirement for surgical or radiotherapeutic intervention. In 2010, denosumab, a fully human monoclonal antibody that inhibits RANK ligand (RANKL) and subsequent osteoclast-mediated bone destruction, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the prevention of skeletal-related events (SREs) in patients with bone metastases from solid tumors. This article reviews the role of denosumab in preventing SREs due to bone metastases, treating bone loss due to hormone-ablative cancer therapies, and describes denosumab's safety profile and potential future indications under investigation.
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