Efficacy of zoledronic acid for the elimination of disseminated tumor cells in a clinically relevant, spontaneously metastatic prostate cancer xenograft model


Bone metastases develop in >90 % of patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer (PCa) through complex interactions between the bone microenvironment and tumor cells. Previous androgen-deprivation therapy (ADT), which is known to cause bone loss, as well as anti-resorptive agents such as zoledronic acid (ZA), used to prevent skeletal complications, may influence these interactions and thereby the growth of disseminated tumor cells (DTC) in the bone marrow (BM). Here, a spontaneously metastatic xenograft tumor model of human PCa was further optimized to mimic the common clinical situation of ADT (castration) combined with primary tumor resection in vivo. The effects of these interventions, alone or in combination with ZA treatment, on tumor cell dissemination to the BM and other distant sites were analyzed. Metastatic burden was quantified by human-specific Alu-qPCR, bioluminescence imaging (BLI), and immunohistochemistry. Further, bone remodeling was assessed by static histomorphometry and serum parameters. Initial comparative analysis between NSG and SCID mice showed that spontaneous systemic dissemination of subcutaneous PC-3 xenograft tumors was considerably enhanced in NSG mice. Primary tumor resection and thereby prolonged observational periods resulted in a higher overall metastatic cell load at necropsy and tumor growth alone caused significant bone loss, which was further augmented by surgical castration. In addition, castrated mice showed a strong trend towards higher bone metastasis loads. Weekly treatment of mice with ZA completely prevented castration- and tumor-induced bone loss but had no effect on bone metastasis burden. Conversely, the total lung metastasis load as determined by BLI was significantly decreased upon ZA treatment. These findings provide a basis for future research on the role of ZA not only in preventing skeletal complications but also in reducing metastasis to other organs.

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Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 06.2023

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Copyright © 2023. Published by Elsevier Inc.

PubMed 36934984