A new emergency in oncology: Bone metastases in breast cancer patients (Review)

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Breast cancer (BC) is the most common tumour in females and as a result, the management of such patients is a major public health issue. A high percentage of BC patients develop bone metastases (BMs), occasionally even several years following the initial diagnosis. BMs are responsible for high morbidity and a reduced quality of life with the onset of various clinical complications defined as skeletal-related events (SREs), including pathological fractures, spinal cord compression, hypercalcaemia, bone marrow infiltration and severe bone pain, requiring palliative radiotherapy. Such complications reduce functional independence and quality of life, decrease survival rates and increase healthcare costs. The current treatment for metastatic BC aims to achieve meaningful clinical responses, an improved quality of life, long-term remission, prolonged survival and in a small percentage of cases, a complete cure. The treatment of this malignancy has become progressively complex, including well-known antitumour agents or bone-targeted molecules aimed at preventing bone complications and improving patient quality of life and the treatment outcome of a multidisciplinary programme. The importance of a multi disciplinary approach in the management of BMs is also widely accepted. The major complication of BMs are SREs which are responsible for reducing prognoses and patient quality of life and are correlated with high rates of hospitalisation with the subsequent social and economic consequences. For these reasons, it is crucial to prevent where possible or to identify and treat SREs promptly in an attempt to mitigate the ever-increasing clinical and economic burden.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-310
Number of pages5
JournalOncology Letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013


  • Bone metastases
  • Breast cancer
  • Multidisciplinary approach
  • Skeletal-related events

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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