A trial looking at zoledronic acid for pain caused by breast cancer that has spread to the bones

Cancer type:

Breast cancer




Phase 3

This trial was comparing zoledronic acid given either at home or in hospital for women with breast cancer that had spread (metastatic disease).

If breast cancer spreads to the bone, it often causes pain and affects peoples’ quality of life. A drug called zoledronic acid (Zometa) can help to control this pain and to stop other bone problems. You have zoledronic acid once every 3 weeks and it only takes 15 minutes each time. So it may be a treatment that women can have at home, rather than having to go to hospital.

In this trial, the researchers wanted to find out if women were happy to have this treatment at home and if it was a safe to do so.

The aims of the trial were to compare having zoledronic acid at home with having it in a hospital. They were looking to see

  • If it reduced bone pain
  • If it was safe to give at home
  • What effect it had on quality of life

Summary of results

The trial team found that pain improved with zoledronic acid treatment, especially when patients had it at home. They also found that zoledronic acid was safe to have at home.

The trial recruited 101 women who had at least one area of cancer in their bones and were having hormone therapy. Everybody had the first 3 doses of zoledronic acid in hospital. They had the next 3 doses either at home or in hospital and then swapped over for the last 3 treatments.

The results showed that the women’s pain got better wherever they were having treatment. But there was more of an improvement in pain when they had treatment at home. There was also more of an improvement in their physical and social quality of life when they had treatment at home.

As zoledronic acid can affect the kidneys, everybody had regular blood tests to check this. The results showed that their kidneys were working normally throughout the treatment, making this a safe treatment to have in hospital or at home.

We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) and published in a medical journal. The figures we quote above were provided by the trial team. We have not analysed the data ourselves.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Professor A Howell
Dr A Wardley

Supported by


Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 37

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Harriet wanted to try new treatments

Picture of Harriet

“I was keen to go on a clinical trial. I wanted to try new cancer treatments and hopefully help future generations.”

Last reviewed:

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