Osteoporosis Risk in Long-term Osteosarcoma Survivors

Medical DataThough survival rates of children with osteosarcoma have improved in recent years, many of these children go on to develop osteoporosis as they age, according to a team of researchers in Korea. The researchers conducted a recent study to determine the prevalence of osteoporosis in long-term osteosarcoma survivors and the factors that raise patients’ risk of developing osteoporosis.

The study, “Young age at diagnosis, male sex, and decreased lean mass are risk factors of osteoporosis in long-term survivors of osteosarcoma,” was conducted by researchers at the Korea Cancer Center Hospital in Seoul. It was published online ahead of print in November 2012 in the Journal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology.

The researchers looked at data on 40 long-term osteosarcoma survivors, and compared it to that of 55 members of a control group. The average age of the osteosarcoma survivors was 21.8±5.2 years, and they were all diagnosed with the condition before the age of 23. The researchers used dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry to measure participants’ bone mineral densities and body compositions.

The study results showed that 47.5% (19 out of 40) had osteoporosis, and 30% (12 out of 40) had osteopenia. In nearly half of those affected by osteoporosis (47.5%), the affected region was the femur neck that had previously been affected by osteosarcoma. Additionally, 12 of the patients suffered from 14 fracture episodes.

A number of osteoporosis risk factors were identified in the osteosarcoma survivors, including: younger age at osteosarcoma diagnosis, being male, and having a low lean mass. Participants who were diagnosed before they reached puberty were more likely to have osteoporosis.

The study authors conclude that their results demonstrate a higher than expected prevalence of osteoporosis in patients who previously had osteosarcoma. Additionally, they recommend careful evaluation of bone mineral density in patients with osteosarcoma, particularly those with low lean mass, males, and individuals diagnosed before puberty.

Updated on: 08/18/16
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