Impact of Bone Metastases

Learn What Can Happen When Cancer Spreads to Your Bones

What are bone metastases?

  • When cancer cells spread from the part of the body where they started to the bone, those cells are called bone metastases (pronounced muh•TASS•tuh•seez), or “bone mets”1
  • Bone mets can cause your bones to become weak, which can lead to serious bone problems1*
  1. Serious bone problems are defined as broken bones (fractures), the need for surgery to prevent or repair broken bones, the need for radiation treatments to the bone, and pressure on the spinal cord (spinal cord compression).2

How does cancer spread to bone?

Bone mets cancer cell

Cancer cells can break away from a tumor in another organ and travel through the bloodstream or through lymph vessels. Much like blood vessels, lymph vessels form a network of thin tubes that branch into all tissues of the body.1

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Bone metastases cancer cell pathway

After breaking away from a tumor in another organ and traveling throughout the body, many cancer cells die without causing any problems. However, some cancer cells settle in a new location and begin to grow.1

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When cancer spreads to bones.

While cancer can spread to nearly all tissues of the body, bone is one of the most common sites.1

Which bones most often get bone mets?1

  • When cancer spreads to ribs or bones.


  • When cancer spreads to spine.


  • When cancer spreads to skull or bones.


  • When cancer spreads to upper leg bones.

    Upper leg bone

  • When cancer spreads to hip bones.

    Hip bone

  • When cancer spreads to upper arm bones.

    Upper arm bone

Bone mets are common among patients with certain types of advanced cancer

About 7 out of 10 people with advanced metastatic breast cancer will develop bone mets.

people will develop bone mets3

About 7 out of 10 men with advanced metastatic prostate cancer develop bone mets.

men will develop bone mets3

About 4 out of 10 people with advanced metastatic lung cancer develop bone metastases.

people will develop bone mets3

Important Safety Information

Do not take XGEVA® if you have low blood calcium (hypocalcemia). Your low blood calcium must be treated before you receive XGEVA®. XGEVA® can significantly lower the calcium levels in your blood and some deaths have been reported. Take calcium and vitamin D as your doctor tells you to. Tell your doctor right away if you experience spasms, twitches, cramps, or stiffness in your muscles or numbness or tingling in your fingers, toes, or around your mouth.

Do not take XGEVA® if you are allergic to denosumab or any of the ingredients of XGEVA®. Serious allergic reactions have happened in people who take XGEVA®. Call your doctor or go to your nearest emergency room right away if you have any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including low blood pressure (hypotension); trouble breathing; throat tightness; swelling of the face, lips, or tongue, rash; itching; or hives.

What is the most important information you should know about XGEVA®?

XGEVA® contains the same medicine as Prolia® (denosumab). If you are taking XGEVA® do not take Prolia®.

Severe jaw bone problems (osteonecrosis)

Unusual thigh bone fracture

Risk of high calcium levels in patients who are still growing

Possible harm to your unborn baby

Tell your doctor if you:

While taking XGEVA®, you should:

What are the possible side effects of XGEVA®?

These are not all the possible side effects of XGEVA®. For more information, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Please see Full Prescribing Information.

Indication and Limitation of Use

XGEVA® is a prescription medicine used to prevent fracture, spinal cord compression, or the need for radiation or surgery to bone in patients with bone metastases from solid tumors.

XGEVA® is not used to prevent these bone problems in patients with multiple myeloma.

  1. American Cancer Society. Bone metastasis. American Cancer Society website. Revised May 2, 2016. Accessed June 5, 2017.
  2. XGEVA® (denosumab) prescribing information, Amgen.
  3. Coleman RE. Clinical features of metastatic bone disease and risk of skeletal morbidity. Clin Cancer Res. 2006;12(suppl 20):6243s-6249s.