• bisphosphonates;
  • bone metastases;
  • microCT;
  • histomorphometry


Bone metastases are severe complications of cancers associated with increased morbidity, pain, risk fracture, and reduced life span for patients. Bisphosphonates emerged as a relief treatment in bone metastases. A single dose of zoledronic acid (78 μg/kg) was injected into six Copenhagen rats 4 days before receiving an intraosseous inoculation of metastatic anaplastic tumor of lymph node and lung cell (MLL) prostate cancer cells. Rat femurs were analyzed for changes by microCT and histomorphometry; trabecular volume, trabecular characteristics, osteoid parameters, osteoblastic surfaces, and osteoclast number were measured. Values were compared to a group of SHAM animals, a group of SHAM animals having received zoledronic acid and animals inoculated with MLL cells. All rats were euthanized after 1 month. MLL cells induced osteolysis in the metaphysis with extension of the tumor to soft tissues through cortical perforations. Zoledronic acid induced a marked osteosclerosis in the primary spongiosa in both SHAM and rats inoculated with MLL. Osteosclerosis was obtained in the secondary spongiosa of MLL rats. The bisphosphonate preserved cortical integrity in all animals, and no extension to soft tissues was observed in most animals. The number of osteoclasts was elevated, indicating that there was no apoptosis of osteoclasts but they became inactive. Osteosclerosis was associated with increased osteoblastic surfaces. A single zoledronic acid injection turned osteolytic metastases into osteosclerotic and preserved cortical integrity. Microsc. Res. Tech. 73:733–740, 2010. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.