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Urology. 1999 Oct;54(4):607-11.

Androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer results in significant loss of bone density.

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Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, American Foundation for Urologic Disease and Prostate Quality Enhancement Research Initiative of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.



Advanced prostate cancer is a frequently diagnosed condition in the aging male population, and many men will ultimately be treated with androgen deprivation therapy (ADT). Long-term consequences of ADT on bone mineral density (BMD) have not been systematically studied. We performed a pilot study to test the hypothesis that ADT in patients with prostate cancer results in the measurable loss of BMD.


A cross-sectional study of 32 men with prostate cancer who were about to begin ADT or who had been receiving ADT for more than 1 year was conducted. BMD was measured by single and dual energy x-ray absorptiometry in the lumbar spine, hip, and forearm. Linear regression analysis was used to estimate the time necessary to develop significant BMD loss in the spine, hip, and forearm regions.


Five (63%) of 8 men who had not received ADT and 21 (88%) of 24 men who had received ADT for more than 1 year fulfilled the BMD criteria for osteopenia or osteoporosis at one or more sites. When BMD was compared at each site, men who received ADT for more than 1 year had significantly lower BMD in the lumbar spine than men who had not started treatment (P<0.05). On the basis of regression analysis, an estimated 48 months of ADT would be necessary to develop BMD criteria for osteopenia in the lumbar spine for a man with average BMD at the initiation of therapy.


Pre-existing osteopenia and osteoporosis were common in men with prostate cancer before initiating ADT. Both ADT and the duration of ADT were significantly associated with the loss of BMD in men with prostate cancer.

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