Effect of zoledronic acid on the doxycycline-induced decrease in tumour burden in a bone metastasis model of human breast cancer
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Bone is one of the most frequent sites for metastasis in breast cancer patients often resulting in significant clinical morbidity and mortality. Bisphosphonates are currently the standard of care for breast cancer patients with bone metastasis. We have shown previously that doxycycline, a member of the tetracycline family of antibiotics, reduces total tumour burden in an experimental bone metastasis mouse model of human breast cancer. In this study, we combined doxycycline treatment together with zoledronic acid, the most potent bisphosphonate. Drug administration started 3 days before the injection of the MDA-MB-231 cells. When mice were administered zoledronic acid alone, the total tumour burden decreased by 43% compared to placebo treatment. Administration of a combination of zoledronic acid and doxycycline resulted in a 74% decrease in total tumour burden compared to untreated mice. In doxycycline- and zoledronate-treated mice bone formation was significantly enhanced as determined by increased numbers of osteoblasts, osteoid surface and volume, whereas a decrease in bone resorption was also observed. Doxycycline greatly reduced tumour burden and could also compensate for the increased bone resorption. The addition of zoledronate to the regimen further decreased tumour burden, caused an extensive decrease in bone-associated soft tissue tumour burden (93%), and sustained the bone volume, which could result in a smaller fracture risk. Treatment with zoledronic acid in combination with doxycycline may be very beneficial for breast cancer patients at risk for osteolytic bone metastasis.
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