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Sodium clodronate increases survival in patients with advanced prostate cancer but not in men with localized disease


Oral sodium clodronate improves overall survival in men with advanced prostate cancer, but does not reduce the risk of death in men with localised disease, according to the final results of the MRC PR05 and MRC PR04 trials, published in an Article Online First and in the September edition of the Lancet Oncology.

Prostate cancer most commonly spreads to the bone. Thus, it has been suggested that bisphosphonates, such as sodium clodronate, a group of drugs that prevent the loss of bone mass, might improve the outcomes of patients with advanced prostate cancer.

In 1994, two UK-led trials commenced to examine the effect of sodium clodronate in men with advanced or localised prostate cancer. In the first trial, 311 men with advanced prostate cancer who were starting or responding to hormone therapy (standard care) for bone metastases were randomly allocated to take oral sodium clodronate or placebo for up to 3 years. In the second trial, 508 men with localised prostate cancer who were receiving standard care (usually treatment with radiotherapy, hormone therapy, or both) were randomly allocated to take oral sodium clodronate or placebo for up to 5 years. The primary results of the original trials, published 6 and 3 years previously, showed that men with advanced disease had a reduction in the development of symptomatic bone metastases and some improvement in overall survival, and men with localised disease showed no improvement in overall survival or delay in the spread of cancer.

In this study, Matthew Sydes from the Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit in the UK and colleagues report the long-term survival outcomes of patients involved in both the original trials.

Findings showed a 23% relative decrease in death in the group allocated to clodronate. At 5 years, overall survival was 30% in the clodronate treated group and 21% in the placebo group, and after 10 years, 17% vs 9%, respectively.

In men with localised disease, clodronate showed no benefit in overall survival--at 5 years, overall survival was 78% in patients given clodronate and 80% in patients given placebo, and after 10 years 48% vs 51%.

They authors say: "PR05 is the first trial, to our knowledge, to show an overall survival benefit conferred by an oral bisphosphonate when given in addition to standard hormone therapy to men with bone metastases who are starting or responding to hormone therapy. However, there is no evidence that clodronate is of any benefit when given as an adjuvant to treatment in men with non-metastatic prostate cancer."


MRC Press Office, London, UK. T) +44 (0)207 670 6011 E)

The Institute of Cancer Research Press Office, London, UK. T) +44 (0)207 153 5106 E)

Cardiff University Press Office, Wales, UK. E) or

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