We attempted to investigate whether vitamin K2 (menatetrenone) treatment effectively prevents the incidence of new fractures in osteoporosis. A total of 241 osteoporotic patients were enrolled in a 24-month randomized open label study. The control group (without treatment; n = 121) and the vitamin K2-treated group (n = 120), which received 45 mg/day orally vitamin K2, were followed for lumbar bone mineral density (LBMD; measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry [DXA]) and occurrence of new clinical fractures. Serum level of Glu-osteocalcin (Glu-OC) and menaquinone-4 levels were measured at the end of the follow-up period. Serum level of OC and urinary excretion of deoxypyridinoline (DPD) were measured before and after the treatment. The background data of these two groups were identical. The incidence of clinical fractures during the 2 years of treatment in the control was higher than the vitamin K2-treated group (chi2 = 10.935; p = 0.0273). The percentages of change from the initial value of LBMD at 6, 12, and 24 months after the initiation of the study were -1.8 +/- 0.6%, -2.4 +/- 0.7%, and -3.3 +/- 0.8% for the control group, and 1.4 +/- 0.7%, -0.1 +/- 0.6%, and -0.5 +/- 1.0% for the vitamin K2-treated group, respectively. The changes in LBMD at each time point were significantly different between the control and the treated group (p = 0.0010 for 6 months, p = 0.0153 for 12 months, and p = 0.0339 for 24 months). The serum levels of Glu-OC at the end of the observation period in the control and the treated group were 3.0 +/- 0.3 ng/ml and 1.6 +/- 0.1 ng/ml, respectively (p < 0.0001), while the serum level of OC measured by the conventional radioimmunoassay (RIA) showed a significant rise (42.4 +/-6.9% from the basal value) in the treated group at 24 months (18.2 +/- 6.1% for the controls;p = 0.0081). There was no significant change in urinary DPD excretion in the treated group. These findings suggest that vitamin K2 treatment effectively prevents the occurrence of new fractures, although the vitamin K2-treated group failed to increase in LBMD. Furthermore, vitamin K2 treatment enhances gamma-carboxylation of the OC molecule.