Danish researchers looked at 62,865 men aged 50 and over, with an average age of just under 67. 15,716 had suffered a fracture of some description and 47,149 formed the non-fracture control group. The researchers discovered that prostate cancer made men 1.8 times more likely overall to suffer a fracture and 3.7 times as likely to suffer from a hip fracture. But the hip fracture risk was eight times higher in men from 50 to 65 years of age. No increased risk of vertebral fractures was found by the research.

“Our study showed that more than three per cent of hip fractures in men aged 50 and over can be attributed to prostate cancer” says lead researcher Dr Bo Abrahamsen from Copenhagen University Hospital, Gentofte. “And the risk remains even when men have recovered from the disease.”

The researchers now plan to establish a multi-centre initiative focussing on the early diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis in men with prostate cancer. “Medical advances are improving survival rates, but the downside is that treatment can lead to osteoporosis, where the bone loses density and becomes more fragile. This in turn increases the risk of fractures,” says Abrahamsen.

“Our research showed that the increased fracture risk became apparent in the early stages after diagnosis and remained pronounced even in long-term survivors” says Steen Walter, Professor of Urology at Odense University Hospital. “Men who received hormone therapy (ADT) or had their testicles surgically removed to slow the progression of the disease were 1.7 times more likely to suffer a fracture.”

The authors point out that the research only covered the 15 per cent of ADT doses issued on prescription. The majority of the doses are issued by hospital departments, which means they cannot be traced to individual patients. So the actual impact of ADT on national fracture levels could be even greater.

MEDICA.de; Source: Blackwell Publishing