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Bone density loss after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation: a prospective study.

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Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington 98109-1023, USA.


The incidence and course of bone density abnormalities following hematopoietic stem cell transplantation are poorly understood and complicated by the impact of multiple factors. Hip, spine, and wrist bone mineral densities (BMDs) were measured in 104 adults (54 women, 54 men; mean age, 40 years [range, 18-64 years]) at 3 and 12 months after allogeneic transplantation. Clinical and laboratory variables were evaluated using univariate and multivariate analyses to determine risk factors for osteoporosis, fracture, and avascular necrosis. At 3 months posttransplantation, combined (male and female) hip, spine, and wrist z scores were -0.35, -0.42, and +0.04 standard deviations, respectively. At 12 months both men and women experienced significant loss of hip BMD (4.2%, P < .0001); changes in the spine and wrist were minimal. The cumulative dose and number of days of glucocorticoid therapy and the number of days of cyclosporine or tacrolimus therapy showed significant associations with loss of BMD; age, total body irradiation, diagnosis, and donor type did not. Nontraumatic fractures occurred in 10.6% of patients and avascular necrosis in 9.6% within 3 years posttransplantation. The decrease in height between pretransplantation and 12 months posttransplantation was significant (P = .0001). Results indicate that loss of BMD after allogeneic stem cell transplantation is common and accelerated by the length of immunosuppressive therapy and cumulative dose of glucocorticoid. An increased incidence of fracture and avascular necrosis may adversely impact long-term quality of life. Prevention of bone demineralization appears warranted after stem cell transplantation.

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