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Curr Oncol. 2008 Jan;15(Suppl 1):S30-40.

Cancer treatment-related bone loss: a review and synthesis of the literature.


Cancer therapy can result in significant bone loss and increased risk of fragility fracture. Chemotherapy, aromatase inhibitors, and gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogues contribute to increases in the rate of bone remodelling and reduce bone mineral density. Patients with prostate cancer on androgen deprivation therapy experience an increase in the risk of fracture. New research has demonstrated the key role played by bisphosphonates in preventing declines in bone density and increases in bone remodelling. Novel antiresorptive agents targeting receptor activator of nuclear factor κB ligand have great potential in skeletal protection and prevention of bone loss related to cancer therapy. Early assessment of skeletal health, followed by initiation of calcium, vitamin D, and an exercise program are valuable in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. In addition, individuals at increased risk for fracture should be offered antiresorptive therapy. Early data have demonstrated that bisphosphonates are able to prevent the bone loss and increased bone remodelling associated with cancer therapy, including aromatase inhibition and androgen deprivation therapy. The present paper reviews the new research and advances in the management of bone loss associated with both cancer therapy and estrogen deficiency in the postmenopausal female.


Cancer therapy; androgen deprivation; antiresorptive therapy; aromatase inhibition; bisphosphonates; bone loss; osteonecrosis of jaw; osteoporosis

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