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Genetic Screening With Targeted Treatment Halts Progression of Paget Disease of the Bone

Medscape reports that Prophylactic treatment with zoledronic acid (ZA) in individuals at high genetic risk for Paget disease of the bone (PDB) can prevent the development or progression of the condition, according to a new study. The authors argued that the positive results from the trial suggest that individuals with a familial history of PDB should undergo genetic screening.

In this new study, published on December 20, 2023, in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, researchers recruited participants through family members already diagnosed with PDB who received treatment at outpatient clinics. Over 1400 individuals with PDB underwent genetic testing for pathogenic SQSTM1 variants. If they tested positive, their first-degree relatives — primarily children — were offered the same genetic test. In total, 350 relatives tested positive for these pathogenic SQSTM1 variants, and of these individuals, 222 agreed to participate in the trial.

At the beginning of the study, all participants received a radionuclide bone scan to screen for bone lesions. They also underwent testing for the bone resorption marker type I collagen C-terminal telopeptides (CTX) and the bone formation marker procollagen type I amino-terminal propeptide (P1NP). Participants were then randomized to receive either a single intravenous infusion of 5 mg of ZA or placebo treatment. Researchers followed up with participants annually for a median of 84 months (7 years), and then baseline assessments were repeated.

Overall, the researchers reported that eight individuals in the placebo group and no individuals in the ZA group had a poor outcome, defined as new bone lesions or lesions that were unchanged or progressed (odds ratio, 0.08; P = .003). Two individuals in the placebo group developed lesions during the study, compared with none in the ZA group, but this difference was not statistically significant.

While only a small number of people in the study had legions — around 9% of participants — the effect of ZA is "dramatic," Linda A. Russell, MD, rheumatologist at HSS, told Medscape Medical News.

"Now, it seems like [the test] is fairly easily available, so probably it's something we can begin to incorporate into our armamentarium," Russell said.

Read the full article at medscape.com.