Dr Emanuela Palmerni, who is based at the Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute in Bologna, Italy, is carrying out promising research to refine the treatment options for Giant Cell Tumour of the Bone (GCTB) patients using a drug known as Denosumab, which is a targeted therapy that destroys the giant cells making up the tumour.

Dr Palmerni recently spoke of such research at the 2017 ESMO Congress in Madrid, Spain; a meeting which brings together cancer researchers and clinicians from across Europe to enable collaboration and the exchange of ideas. During the meeting, Dr Palmerni discussed the benefits of the long term effect of the drug Denosumab (also known as Xgeva) in GCTB patients.

The research being discussed was a Phase II clinical trial determining the long-term survival and the safety of using Denosumab in patients. The study enrolled more than 500 patients which were analysed in different groups; including a group of GCTB patients who were unable to be operated on (known as unresectable) and a group of GCTB patients who were able to be operated on (known as resectable) to ensure all treatment routes were investigated.

The study was successful across all groups and found Densoumab to safely control the disease. A finding which is of particular promise to those with giant cell tumour of the bone which has spread elsewhere in the body or is unable to be successfully treated using surgery (unresectable).

Importantly, the results of this study showed that when receiving Denosumab before surgery, more than a third (37%) of patients were able avoid surgery completely and a further 44% had their surgical plans altered to receive less invasive procedures than originally planned. Furthermore, the rate of recurrence (which means the risk of the tumour returning) was just 27% after treatment.

Overall, these are extremely positive results and indicate the use of Denosumab in GCTB patients to be very beneficial.

Dr Palerni said

GCTB is a benign condition that often develops into an aggressive skeletal tumour. Surgery is the only curative option for the condition but is often associated with severe morbidity and loss of function. Moreover, the rate of local recurrence after surgery is as high as 50%....
In resectable patients [patients who were able to be operated on], 80% had improvement with neoadjuvant Denosumab and in unresectable patients [patients who were unable to be successfully treated using surgery]. Denosumab provides excellent long-term disease control.”

You can listen to Dr Palmerini talk more about her findings here and read more on the study’s findings here. A final analysis of the data found in this study is expected to be ready in November 2017.