Adverse events associated with bone-directed therapies in patients with cancer

Mark A. Jara, Jeena Varghese, Mimi I. Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Bone metastatic disease may lead to serious adverse events in patients with cancer. Bone-directed therapies, including bisphosphonates such as pamidronate and zoledronic acid and the human monoclonal antibody denosumab, are currently approved for the prevention of bone-related adverse events. However, despite the benefits of these drugs, they may cause side effects that are mostly associated with dosages and treatment durations. These side effects range from more frequent, mostly mild, and generally self-limited side effects—such as fever, myalgias, arthralgias, and electrolyte imbalances—to less frequent and more severe side effects such as medication-related osteonecrosis of the jaw and atypical femoral fractures. The purpose of this review is to familiarize clinicians with the literature regarding adverse events associated with bone-directed therapies in patients with cancer. It is important to be aware of these possible adverse events and to educate patients about the predisposing factors associated with side effects from bone-directed therapies and the preventive measures necessary to decrease the risk of occurrence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number115901
StateAccepted/In press - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Antiresorptive therapy
  • Bisphosphonates
  • Denosumab
  • Pamidronate
  • Side effects
  • Zoledronic acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Histology
  • Physiology


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