First-Line Treatment for Endocrine-Sensitive Bone-Only Metastatic Breast Cancer: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Angela Toss, Marta Venturelli, Isabella Sperduti, Eleonora Molinaro, Chrystel Isca, Elena Barbieri, Federico Piacentini, Claudia Omarini, Laura Cortesi, Stefano Cascinu, Luca Moscetti

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In the last decade, several clinical trials have investigated novel endocrine combinations for the first-line treatment of hormone receptor–positive metastatic breast cancer. Nevertheless, the use of combinations for the first-line treatment of bone-only disease is widely discussed as a result of its indolent natural history. We performed a comprehensive search of phase 3 randomized clinical trials published in the literature through September 2018. Our aim was to explore the role of the new endocrine approaches in bone-only metastatic breast cancer, suggesting a possible strategy for their selection. In particular, we evaluated the comparative risk of adverse event occurrence during these treatments. A total of 6 studies were deemed suitable for meta-analysis: the Monaleesa-2, Monaleesa-7, Monarch-3, Paloma-2, SWOG, and Alliance trials. Overall, the novel strategies were shown to improve progression-free survival in bone-only disease (hazard ratio = 0.65; 95% confidence interval, 0.49-0.86; P = .003). Combinations with cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors improved progression-free survival (hazard ratio = 0.54; 95% confidence interval, 0.39-0.75; P < .001) with an acceptable toxicity profile. Abemaciclib was associated with increased anemia and gastrointestinal toxicity (especially diarrhea), whereas palbociclib was associated with increased leukopenia (but not neutropenia) compared to the other compounds. Increased aspartate aminotransferase levels were reported for both ribociclib and abemaciclib. The combination of cyclin-dependent kinase 4/6 inhibitors and endocrine therapy represents an effective and well-tolerated approach for first-line treatment in bone-only disease settings. Because no direct comparison between the 3 cyclin-dependent kinase 4/6 inhibitors is available, the selection of the most appropriate treatment should be based on toxicity profile as well as patient preference and copathologies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e701-e716
JournalClinical Breast Cancer
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • Bevacizumab
  • Bone-only disease
  • CDK4/6 inhibitors
  • Endocrine therapy
  • Fulvestrant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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