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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2001 Jun;86(6):2787-91.

Bone loss in men with prostate cancer treated with gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists.

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Division of Bone and Mineral Metabolism, Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA.


Prostate cancer is the most common visceral malignancy in men. As the tumor is testosterone dependent, a frequent treatment modality involves therapy with GnRH agonists (GnRH-a) resulting in hypogonadism. Because testosterone is essential for the maintenance of bone mass in men, we postulated that GnRH-a therapy would negatively impact skeletal integrity. We compared bone mineral density (BMD), biochemical markers of bone turnover, and body composition in 60 men with prostate cancer (19 men receiving GnRH-a therapy and 41 eugonadal men) and BMD in 197 community-living healthy controls of similar age. BMD was assessed by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry and ultrasound. Biochemical markers of bone turnover, included markers of bone resorption (urinary N-telopeptide) and bone formation markers (bone-specific alkaline phosphatase and osteocalcin). Body composition (total body fat and lean body mass) was assessed by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry. Significantly lower BMD was found at the lateral spine (0.69 +/- 0.17 vs. 0.83 +/- 0.20 g/cm(2); P < 0.01), total hip (0.94 +/- 0.14 vs. 1.05 +/- 0.16 g/cm(2); P < 0.05), and forearm (0.67 +/- 0.11 vs. 0.78 +/- 0.07 g/cm(2); P < 0.01) in men receiving GnRH-a compared with the eugonadal men with prostate cancer. Significant differences were also seen at the total body, finger, and calcaneus (all P < 0.01). BMD values in eugonadal men with prostate cancer and healthy controls were similar. Markers of bone resorption (urinary N-telopeptide) and bone formation (bone-specific alkaline phosphatase) were elevated in men receiving GnRH-a therapy compared with those in eugonadal men with prostate cancer. Men receiving GnRH-a also had a higher percent total body fat (29 +/- 5% vs. 25 +/- 5%; P < 0.01) and lower percent lean body weight (71 +/- 5% vs. 75 +/- 5%; P < 0.01) compared with eugonadal men with prostate cancer. In conclusion, men with prostate cancer receiving androgen deprivation therapy have a significant decrease in bone mass and increase in bone turnover, thus placing them at increased risk of fracture.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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