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Bone. 2010 Jan;46(1):176-81. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2009.06.032. Epub 2009 Sep 10.

A multicentre, retrospective case-control study assessing the role of trabecular bone score (TBS) in menopausal Caucasian women with low areal bone mineral density (BMDa): Analysing the odds of vertebral fracture.

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  • 1Med-Imaps-Plateforme Technologique d'Innovation Biomédicale (PTIB)-Hôpital Xavier Arnozan, CHU Bordeaux, Pessac, France.



The trabecular bone score (TBS) is a new parameter that is determined from grey level analysis of DXA images. It relies on the mean thickness and volume fraction of trabecular bone microarchitecture. This was a preliminary case-control study to evaluate the potential diagnostic value of TBS, both alone and combined with bone mineral density (BMDa), in the assessment of vertebral fracture.


Out of a subject pool of 441 Caucasian, postmenopausal women between the ages of 50 and 80 years, we identified 42 women with osteoporosis-related vertebral fractures, and compared them with 126 age-matched women without any fractures (1 case: 3 controls). Primary outcomes were BMDa and TBS. Inter-group comparisons were undertaken using Student's t-tests and Wilcoxon signed ranks tests for parametric and non-parametric data, respectively. Odds ratios for vertebral fracture were calculated for each incremental one standard deviation decrease in BMDa and TBS, and areas under the receiver operating curve (AUC) calculated and sensitivity analysis were conducted to compare BMDa alone, TBS alone, and the combination of BMDa and TBS. Subgroup analyses were performed specifically for women with osteopenia, and for women with T-score-defined osteoporosis.


Across all subjects (n=42, 126) weight and body mass index were greater and BMDa and TBS both less in women with fractures. The odds of vertebral fracture were 3.20 (95% CI, 2.01-5.08) for each incremental decrease in TBS, 1.95 (1.34-2.84) for BMDa, and 3.62 (2.32-5.65) for BMDa + TBS combined. The AUC was greater for TBS than for BMDa (0.746 vs. 0.662, p=0.011). At iso-specificity (61.9%) or iso-sensitivity (61.9%) for both BMDa and TBS, TBS + BMDa sensitivity or specificity was 19.1% or 16.7% greater than for either BMDa or TBS alone. Among subjects with osteoporosis (n=11, 40) both BMDa (p=0.0008) and TBS (p=0.0001) were lower in subjects with fractures, and both OR and AUC (p=0.013) for BMDa + TBS were greater than for BMDa alone (OR=4.04 [2.35-6.92] vs. 2.43 [1.49-3.95]; AUC=0.835 [0.755-0.897] vs. 0.718 [0.627-0.797], p=0.013). Among subjects with osteopenia, TBS was lower in women with fractures (p=0.0296), but BMDa was not (p=0.75). Similarly, the OR for TBS was statistically greater than 1.00 (2.82, 1.27-6.26), but not for BMDa (1.12, 0.56-2.22), as was the AUC (p=0.035), but there was no statistical difference in specificity (p=0.357) or sensitivity (p=0.678).


The trabecular bone score warrants further study as to whether it has any clinical application in osteoporosis detection and the evaluation of fracture risk.

Copyright (c) 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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