Scientific publications

Breast-cancer adjuvant therapy with zoledronic acid

Coleman RE, Marshall H, Cameron D, Dodwell D, Burkinshaw R, Keane M, Gil M, Houston SJ, Grieve RJ, Barrett-Lee PJ, Ritchie D, Pugh J, Gaunt C, Rea U, Peterson J, Davies C, Hiley V, Gregory W, Bell R; AZURE Investigators.

Magazine: The New England Journal of Medicine

Date: Sep 1, 2011

Medical Oncology

Data suggest that the adjuvant use of bisphosphonates reduces rates of recurrence and death in patients with early-stage breast cancer. We conducted a study to determine whether treatment with zoledronic acid, in addition to standard adjuvant therapy, would improve disease outcomes in such patients.

In this open-label phase 3 study, we randomly assigned 3360 patients to receive standard adjuvant systemic therapy either with or without zoledronic acid. The zoledronic acid was administered every 3 to 4 weeks for 6 doses and then every 3 to 6 months to complete 5 years of treatment. The primary end point of the study was disease-free survival. A second interim analysis revealed that a prespecified boundary for lack of benefit had been crossed.

At a median follow-up of 59 months, there was no significant between-group difference in the primary end point, with a rate of disease-free survival of 77% in each group (adjusted hazard ratio in the zoledronic acid group, 0.98; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.85 to 1.13; P=0.79). Disease recurrence or death occurred in 377 patients in the zoledronic acid group and 375 of those in the control group. The numbers of deaths--243 in the zoledronic acid group and 276 in the control group--were also similar, resulting in rates of overall survival of 85.4% in the zoledronic acid group and 83.1% in the control group (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.85; 95% CI, 0.72 to 1.01; P=0.07). In the zoledronic acid group, there were 17 confirmed cases of osteonecrosis of the jaw (cumulative incidence, 1.1%; 95% CI, 0.6 to 1.7; P<0.001) and 9 suspected cases; there were no cases in the control group. Rates of other adverse effects were similar in the two study groups.

These findings do not support the routine use of zoledronic acid in the adjuvant management of breast cancer. (Funded by Novartis Pharmaceuticals and the National Cancer Research Network; AZURE Current Controlled Trials number, ISRCTN79831382.).

CITATION  N Engl J Med. 2011 Oct 13;365(15):1396-405. Epub 2011 Sep 25.



The Clínica is the greater private hospital with technological equipment of Spain, all in a single center.

Imagen de un PET, tecnología de vanguardia en la Clínica Universidad de Navarra


The professionals of the Clínica perform continuous research and training, always to the benefit of the patient.

Imagen profesionales de la Clínica Universidad de Navarra


Learn why we are different from other healthcare centers. Quality, speed, comfort and results.

Imagen del edificio de la Clínica Universidad de Navarra