Men who receive a common therapy after prostate cancer surgery may be at higher risk for bone fractures, say researchers based on findings of a recent study. For the study, nearly 20 percent of men treated with androgen-deprivation therapy suffered a broken bone within five years of diagnosis, compared to about 13 percent of men who did not receive the treatment.
Androgen-deprivation therapy has traditionally been given to men with locally advanced cancers and the therapy has been shown to reduce mortality and help keep tumors in check. Specialists have been using the above method of treatment for men with cancer that is confined to the prostate. The men undergoing treatment were found to have a much lower risk of death or spread of the cancer, and treatment with the therapy has not been proven to improve their outcomes. Since the treatment was linked to a loss of bone mineral density (BMD), researchers wanted to determine how it impacted the risk of fractures.
Prostate cancer patients treated between 1992 and 1997 were studied. Researchers say in addition to finding the increased risk of bone fracture among the men on the therapy, they also observed a link between increased doses of the therapy administered in the first year after diagnosis with a higher bone fracture risk.
In conclusion researchers say doctors should proceed with caution in prescribing the therapy for men with cancer that has not spread and they also suggest more study to see if bone-strengthening drugs might help reduce fractures among men who do need to receive the treatment.