Prostate Cancer Drugs Raise Osteoporosis Risk
Common Prostate Cancer Therapy May Put Bones at Risk
Jan. 20, 2004 -- A common prostate cancer therapy can weaken
men's bones and put them at risk for osteoporosis.
A new study shows androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) can lead
to severe bone loss among men. Androgens are male hormones that are implicated
in both cancer growth and bone strength.
ADT is used in prostate cancer treatment to reduce tumor growth
and improve the odds of survival. The therapy works by inhibiting the androgens
in the body that stimulate the growth of prostate cancer cells as well as
curbing the production of androgens in the hormone centers of the brain.
Researchers say this hormone suppression also results in a form
of "male menopause," which weakens the bones and increases the risk of
fractures and osteoporosis.
Prostate Cancer Drugs Weaken Bones
In the study, published in the March 1 issue of Cancer,
researchers reviewed studies on the treatment of osteoporosis in men who
received ADT for their prostate cancer.
Although osteoporosis is most frequently associated with
postmenopausal women, men also lose bone density and strength as they get
older. Therapies that speed the natural loss of bone mass, such as ADT, may
increase the risk of the bone-thinning disease.
The study showed that men who received ADT as part of their
prostate cancer therapy experienced significant bone loss with rates of bone
loss ranging from 2% to 8% in the spine and 1.8% to 6.5% in the hip during the
first 12 months of ADT.
The studies also showed there was an increase in the rate of
fractures in men with prostate cancer treated with androgen deprivation
Researchers say the findings show that men with prostate cancer
are at high risk for osteoporosis and doctors should monitor them for bone loss
during treatment with ADT to help reduce the likelihood of dangerous bone