Conference Coverage

ASBMR 2020: Sequential osteoporosis meds, AI, bone cancer, and more


The virtual American Society for Bone and Mineral Research 2020 annual meeting “is full of highlights,” says Lorenz Hofbauer, MD, scientific chair, but “this year you won’t lose time in the hallways to switch between the talks,” he quipped.

Nevertheless, “although we won’t be coming together face to face this year, you will have the flexibility to virtually connect with peers and colleagues from around the world,” Teresita Bellido, PhD, ASBMR president emphasized in a message to members.

Like other medical organizations, with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ASBMR had to quickly pivot to provide a virtual meeting.

The meeting will take place September 11-15 and is free for ASBMR members.

Speaking to Medscape Medical News, Bellido and Hofbauer drew attention to some of the meeting’s major themes, key sessions, and top clinical oral abstracts.

Attendees at this year’s virtual meeting will hear the latest information on optimal sequential treatment for osteoporosis, the latest research using artificial intelligence (AI), and bone and cancer, among other topics.

Sequential osteoporosis treatment a recurring theme

According to Hofbauer, from Dresden Technical University, Germany, the September 13 Cutting Edge symposium entitled, “Optimizing Sequential Osteoporosis Treatment,” is not to be missed, and the topic “will be a leitmotiv [recurrent theme] for the entire meeting.”

During this session speakers will present findings from two perspectives – basic science and clinical applications – with the latter being another recurring theme at the meeting.

Bellido, from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, in Little Rock, pointed out that romosozumab (Evenity, Amgen), recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, is an example of how basic laboratory research can lead to important new therapies.

Anabolic therapies for osteoporosis that “build up bone” include teriparatide, abaloparatide, and now romosozumab, whereas antiresorptive therapies that stop bone resorption include the bisphosphonates (alendronate, risedronate, ibandronate, and zoledronic acid) and the monoclonal antibody denosumab, Bellido explained.

As osteoporosis treatment options have expanded, the timing and sequencing of optimal therapies have become much more complex, and so this session on sequencing, as well as the September 13 Concurrent Orals session, “Issues of Long-term Treatment and Discontinuation,” is sure to spark interest.

The ASBMR/European Calcified Tissue Society debate, entitled, “A Treat to Target Approach is Helpful for Osteoporosis Management,” is also expected to be lively and generate wide interest, according to Bellido and Hofbauer.

Michael R. McClung, MD, Oregon Osteoporosis Center, Portland, will argue against the motion and Celia Gregson, PhD, University of Bristol, UK, will argue for it. Attendees will be able to vote for/against the motion before and after the debate, and the result will indicate which speaker was more persuasive.

Bone cancer ultimately damages other tissues

The meeting will also offer attendees a close look at bone and cancer, which is an example of how “all the homeostatic processes that occur with bone not only affect bone but also impact other tissues and organs,” said Bellido.

In other words, “what happens in bone impacts other tissues – for example, skeletal muscle, the pancreas, and even frailty and fractures.”

Theresa A. Guise, MD, from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, in Austin, will present the Louis V. Avioli Lecture on September 11, entitled, “Cancer, Bone and Beyond: An Integrated View of the Bone Microenvironment.”

“Local events in the bone microenvironment due to cancer and cancer treatment which result in pathologic bone destruction may have widespread systemic consequences that further increase morbidity and mortality,” Hofbauer noted.

Guise “will highlight cutting-edge concepts, potential mechanisms, and therapy for bone metastases,” he said.

These concepts will also be discussed in more detail during a 2-day virtual premeeting symposium, presented on September 9 and 10 by the ASBMR along with the Cancer and Bone Society, entitled, “The Seed and Soil: Therapeutic Targets for Cancer in Bone.”

The symposium will cover tumor dormancy, imaging, adiposity in the bone tumor microenvironment, a history of bone-targeted therapies in cancer, advances in breast cancer bone metastasis, and new approaches in myeloma bone disease.

“We have evidence from breast cancer, multiple myeloma, as well as from prostate cancer,” Bellido noted, that “all those cancer cells make their home in bone and transform the bone in such a way that not only the bone is damaged but also other tissues.”

“We have skeletal muscle weakness (that is directed by the effects that occur in bone), as well as changes in the pancreas – all directed by proteins and genes in bone cells.”


Recommended Reading

Low vitamin D linked to increased COVID-19 risk
MDedge Rheumatology
Fracture risk prediction: No benefit to repeat BMD testing in postmenopausal women
MDedge Rheumatology
SGLT2 inhibitors with metformin look safe for bone
MDedge Rheumatology
Atypical fractures with bisphosphonates highest in Asians, study confirms
MDedge Rheumatology
CagA-positive H. pylori patients at higher risk of osteoporosis, fracture
MDedge Rheumatology