Breast cancer survivors are at an increased risk for osteoporotic fractures not explained by lower BMD: a retrospective analysis Academic Article uri icon


  • Background: An association between higher bone mineral density (BMD) and the diagnosis of breast cancer (BC) has been reported. Data on the risk of osteoporotic fractures in women with BC are conflicting. Aims: The objective of this study was to assess fracture risk adjusted for BMD in women with and without BC, and to assess whether fracture risk in BC patients is attributed to BMD or BC characteristics. Methods: Using electronic medical records of patients who underwent dual energy X-ray absorptiometry BMD studies at Soroka University Medical Center between February 2003 and March 2011, we identified women with subsequent diagnosis of osteoporotic fractures. BC status, demographic, health characteristics, BMD, and other laboratory findings were assessed. In BC patients data on grade, stage, and treatment were collected. Primary outcome was osteoporotic fracture, analyzed by Cox proportional hazards regression models. Results: During a median follow-up of 4.9 years in 17,110 women with BMD testing (658 BC patients), 1,193 women experienced an osteoporotic fracture (62 in BC and 1,131 in no-BC groups). In multivariate analysis adjusted for age, body mass index (BMI) and BMD, hazard ratio (HR) for any osteoporotic fracture in women with BC was 1.34 (P=0.026). BMD was similar among women with and without BC who fractured. BC patients who experienced an osteoporotic fracture had a trend for less-advanced BC, lower rates of chemotherapy treatment, and higher rates of tamoxifen treatment. Conclusions: BC survivors are at increased risk of an osteoporotic fracture, which is not explained by worse BMD. Chemotherapy or aromatase inhibitors did not contribute substantially to fracture risk among our BC survivors.

publication date

  • January 11, 2015