Costly and lengthy clinical trials hinder the development of safe and effective treatments for postmenopausal osteoporosis. To reduce the expense associated with these trials, we established a mechanistic disease-drug trial model for postmenopausal osteoporosis that can predict phase 3 trial outcome based on short-term bone turnover marker data. To this end, we applied a previously developed model for tibolone to bisphosphonates using zoledronic acid as paradigm compound by (1) linking the mechanistic bone cell interaction model to bone turnover markers as well as bone mineral density in lumbar spine and total hip, (2) employing a mechanistic disease progression function, and (3) accounting for zoledronic acid’s mechanism of action. Once developed, we fitted the model to clinical trial data of 581 postmenopausal women receiving (1) 5-mg zoledronic acid in year 1 and saline in year 2, (2) 5-mg zoledronic acid in year 1 and year 2, or (3) placebo (saline), calcium (500 mg), and vitamin D (400 IU). All biomarker data was fitted reasonably well, with no apparent bias or model misspecification. Age, years since menopause, and body mass index at baseline were identified as significant covariates. In the future, the model can be modified to explore the link between short-term biomarkers and fracture risk.
© 2020, The American College of Clinical Pharmacology.