Medical Oncology for Bone Mets

Oncology for Bone Mets

Your medical oncologist is usually the quarterback of your treatment team.  He/she will treat your cancer systemically with the appropriate chemotherapy for your specific cancer.  If cancer spreads to the bone, you will likely continue with a systemic chemotherapy regimen.

Chemotherapy for Bone Metastases

This is the main method of treatment. Chemotherapy drugs are spread throughout the body and can kill cancer cells in the bone. As chemotherapy protocols improve, patient survival and drug side effects decrease.

Hormone Therapy for Bone Metastases (Breast Cancer and Prostate Cancer)

For breast cancer with bone metastases, hormone therapy is prescribed. It blocks the production of estrogen. Thanks to this, the tumor reduces and the spread of metastases is slowed down. Hormone therapy also helps men with Stage 4 prostate cancer. Medications decrease testosterone production and stop the growth of cancer cells in the bone.

Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapy is the use of personalized drugs that target tumor cells. With their help, it is possible to find and destroy cancer cells in the bone tissue.

Immunotherapy for metastatic cancer

Immunotherapy is one of the newer cancer treatments. New immuno-oncology treatments are being actively tested to evaluate their safety and effectiveness in patients with metastatic cancer. This is the most promising way to save people with bone metastases so far.

Another treatment, with Bisphosphonate medicines may also be given.  These drugs are:

  • Denosumab (Xgeva)
  • Pamidronate (Aredia)
  • Zoledronic acid (Zometa) 


These drugs are given intravenously (IV or into a vein) or subcutaneously (under the skin). Most patients are treated once a month if cancer spreads to the bones, however, may be able to be treated less often if they are doing well.

Treatment with one of these drugs can help prevent further bone damage and events related to weakened bones such as fractures, hypercalcemia, and spinal cord compression.

Your medical oncologist should meet with your complete treatment team to see if other treatment options are available and if one might be right for you.