The ageing population and an increase in both the incidence and prevalence of cancer pose a healthcare challenge, some of which is borne by the orthopaedic community in the form of osteoporotic fractures and metastatic bone disease. In recent years there has been an increasing understanding of the pathways involved in bone metabolism relevant to osteoporosis and metastases in bone. Newer therapies may aid the management of these problems. One group of drugs, the antibody mediated anti-resorptive therapies (AMARTs) use antibodies to block bone resorption pathways. This review seeks to present a synopsis of the guidelines, pharmacology and potential pathophysiology of AMARTs and other new anti-resorptive drugs.
We evaluate the literature relating to AMARTs and new anti-resorptives with special attention on those approved for use in clinical practice.
Denosumab, a monoclonal antibody against Receptor Activator for Nuclear Factor Kappa-B Ligand. It is the first AMART approved by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence and the US Food and Drug Administration. Other novel anti-resorptives awaiting approval for clinical use include Odanacatib.
Denosumab is indicated for the treatment of osteoporosis and prevention of the complications of bone metastases. Recent evidence suggests, however, that denosumab may have an adverse event profile similar to bisphosphonates, including atypical femoral fractures. It is, therefore, essential that orthopaedic surgeons are conversant with these medications and their safe usage.
Take home message: Denosumab has important orthopaedic indications and has been shown to significantly reduce patient morbidity in osteoporosis and metastatic bone disease.