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Multiple myeloma is characterized by the growth of plasma cells in the bone marrow and the development of osteolytic bone disease. Myeloma cells are found closely associated with bone, and targeting this environment may therefore affect both the bone disease and the growth of myeloma cells. We have investigated the effect of the potent bisphosphonate, zoledronic acid, on the development of bone disease, tumor burden, and disease-free survival in the 5T2MM model of myeloma. 5T2MM murine myeloma cells were injected intravenously into C57BL/KaLwRij mice. After 8 weeks, all animals had a paraprotein. Animals were treated with zoledronic acid (120 microg/kg, subcutaneously, twice weekly) or vehicle, from the time of tumor cell injection or from paraprotein detection for 12 or 4 weeks, respectively. All animals injected with tumor cells developed osteolytic lesions, a decrease in cancellous bone volume, an increase in osteoclast perimeter, and a decrease in bone mineral density. Zoledronic acid prevented the formation of lesions, prevented cancellous bone loss and loss of bone mineral density, and reduced osteoclast perimeter. Zoledronic acid also decreased paraprotein concentration, decreased tumor burden, and reduced angiogenesis. In separate experiments, Kaplan-Meier analysis demonstrated a significant increase in survival after treatment with zoledronic acid when compared with control (47 vs. 35 days). A single dose of zoledronic acid was also shown to be effective in preventing the development of osteolytic bone disease. These data show that zoledronic acid is able to prevent the development of osteolytic bone disease, decrease tumor burden in bone, and increase survival in a model of established myeloma.

Original publication




Journal article


J Bone Miner Res

Publication Date





482 - 492


Animals, Bone Density, Diphosphonates, Disease-Free Survival, Imidazoles, Mice, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Multiple Myeloma, Neovascularization, Pathologic