MedicineWorld.Org
Your gateway to the world of medicine
Home
News
Cancer News
About Us
Cancer
Health Professionals
Patients and public
Contact Us
Disclaimer

Medicineworld.org: Causes of bone loss in breast cancer survivors

Back to cancer blog Blogs list Cancer blog  


Subscribe To Cancer Blog RSS Feed  RSS content feed What is RSS feed?

Causes of bone loss in breast cancer survivors




Osteoporosis is a growing concern among breast cancer survivors and their doctors, because certain cancer drugs can cause bone loss.

But a new study has observed that cancer drugs aren't the only culprits. Among 64 patients with breast cancer referred to a bone health clinic, 78 percent had at least one other cause of bone loss, including vitamin D deficiency, excessive calcium excretion in urine and an overactive parathyroid gland.

"Doctors evaluating patients with breast cancer for possible bone loss should look further than cancer drugs," said Dr. Pauline Camacho, lead author of the study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology Camacho is an associate professor in the department of medicine, division of endocrinology and metabolism, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.



Causes of bone loss in breast cancer survivors

A co-author of the study, Dr. Kathy Albain, said breast cancer survivors "are just like the normal population as they age in that bone loss can be due to a number of treatable causes." Albain is a professor in the Department of Medicine, division of hematology/oncology at Stritch.

Prior studies have observed that chemotherapy drugs can cause bone loss. Studies also have observed that a class of breast cancer drugs called aromatase inhibitors can decrease bone mineral density and increase the risk of fractures in postmenopausal women. Aromatase inhibitors decrease the body's production of estrogen. While estrogen feeds cancer, it also protects against osteoporosis. Aromatase inhibitors include letrozole (trade name, Femara), anastrazole (Arimidex) and exemestane (Aromasin).

Scientists evaluated charts of 238 consecutive postmenopausal patients who had osteoporosis or osteopenia and were referred to the Loyola's Osteoporosis and Metabolic Bone Disease Center from 2000 to 2006. (Osteopenia is lower than normal bone mineral density, but not low enough to be classified as osteoporosis.) The patients included 64 women with breast cancer referred from Loyola's Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center and 174 patients without breast cancer referred from primary care physicians.

Thirty eight percent of the patients with breast cancer had vitamin D deficiency, compared with 51 percent of the non patients with breast cancer. Another cause of osteoporosis, excessive calcium excretion in urine, was found in 16 percent of cancer patients and 8 percent of noncancer patients. And in 5 percent of patients, the parathyroid gland was overactive, producing a hormone that causes bone to lose calcium.

Vitamin D deficiency can be treated with prescription doses of vitamin D supplements. Excessive calcium excretion can be treated with a "water pill" that's also used to treat high blood pressure, Camacho said. There are various therapys for parathyroid gland disorder, depending on its cause.

In certain patients with breast cancer, bone loss from cancer drugs can be treated with osteoporosis drugs such as alendronate sodium (Fosamax) and ibandronate sodium (Boniva), Camacho said.

Albain refers all her patients with breast cancer for a comprehensive bone health evaluation when osteopenia or osteoporosis is discovered. "Just prescribing a medicine for osteoporosis may not be enough for a number of of our patients," Albain said. "They deserve a thorough workup".

Patient Rosaleen O'Connor, 71, of Elmhurst, Il., learned she had osteoporosis while being treated by Albain for breast cancer. Albain referred O'Connor to Camacho, who prescribed calcium supplements, prescription vitamin D and the osteoporosis drug Boniva. Three years after O'Connor was diagnosed, her Stage 3 cancer is in remission, and she has suffered no bone fractures.


Posted by: Janet    Source




Did you know?
Osteoporosis is a growing concern among breast cancer survivors and their doctors, because certain cancer drugs can cause bone loss. But a new study has observed that cancer drugs aren't the only culprits. Among 64 patients with breast cancer referred to a bone health clinic, 78 percent had at least one other cause of bone loss, including vitamin D deficiency, excessive calcium excretion in urine and an overactive parathyroid gland.

Medicineworld.org: Causes of bone loss in breast cancer survivors

Main Page| Cancer blog| Cancer blogs list| Lung cancer blog| Colon cancer blog| Prostate cancer blog| Breast cancer blog| Diabetes watch blog| Heart watch blog| Allergy blog| Bladder cancer blog| Cervical cancer blog| Colon cancer news blog| Diabetes news blog| Esophageal cancer blog| Gastric cancer blog| Health news blog| Heart news blog| Infectious disease blog| Kidney watch blog| Lung disease blog| Lung cancer news blog| Mesothelioma blog| Neurology blog| Breast cancer news blog| OBGYN blog| Ophthalmology blog| Ovarian cancer blog| Cancer news blog| Pancreas cancer blog| Pediatrics blog| Prostate cancer news blog| Psychology blog| Research blog| Rheumatology blog| Society news blog| Uterine cancer blog| Weight watch blog|

Copyright statement
The contents of this web page are protected. Legal action may follow for reproduction of materials without permission.