Preventing Bone Loss in Men with Prostate Cancer. Ann Intern Med. 2007;146:I-72. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-146-6-200703200-00001
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2007;146(6):I-72.
Prostate cancer is often treated with surgery or drugs to lower levels of testosterone and similar hormones called androgens. These hormones stimulate cancer cells to grow, so lowering their levels usually slows or stops the growth of cancer. However, these hormones also maintain the density and strength of men's bones, so lowering their levels also leads to weaker bones and more fractures. Drugs used to treat osteoporosis prevent weak bones and fractures, and therefore, they might be useful in preventing weak bones and fractures in men with prostate cancer who receive hormone-lowering treatment.
To see whether alendronate, a drug used to treat osteoporosis, slows the weakening of bones in men with prostate cancer who receive hormone-lowering treatment.
112 men with prostate cancer who underwent surgery or were given drugs to lower their hormone levels.
The researchers measured the bone density of the men at the beginning of the study. They then randomly assigned each to receive alendronate or placebo once weekly for 1 year. After a year, they measured the men's bone density and compared changes between the 2 groups. They also measured and compared blood markers of bone stability in the 2 groups.
Bone density increased in men who received alendronate. It decreased in men who received placebo. Blood tests showed that bones became more stable in men who received alendronate compared with those who received placebo.
It was not designed to show whether alendronate reduces fractures.
Alendronate stabilized and strengthened the bones of men with prostate cancer who were receiving hormone-lowering treatment. Men with prostate cancer taking hormone-lowering treatments should probably have their bone density measured. They can use the information to decide with their doctors whether they should take a drug used to treat osteoporosis to prevent bone loss.
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Endocrine and Metabolism, Hematology/Oncology, Metabolic Bone Disorders, Prostate Cancer.
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