Background: As evidence accumulates in favor of androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) in patients with recurrent or metastatic prostate carcinoma, concern has increased regarding bone loss associated with therapeutic hypogonadism. The current study described the natural history of bone complications in men with prostate carcinoma who have initiated ADT.
Methods: Using 1992-2001 claims data from a 5% national random sample of Medicare beneficiaries, the authors identified men with prostate carcinoma who initiated ADT between 1992 and 1994. They analyzed inpatient, outpatient, and physician claims for bone complications over 7 subsequent years. They stratified the quartile of patients who survived longest into 2 cohorts: those who had received ADT for longer than and those who had received ADT for shorter than the median of 697 days. They evaluated the cumulative proportions of patients in each cohort with claims for pathologic fractures, osteoporosis/osteopenia, and nonpathologic fractures.
Results: In the 1992-1994 sample, 4494 men with prostate carcinoma initiated ADT. Of these, 1126 survived > 2028 days (5.5 years). During the first 3 years of evaluation, the proportion of bone events was similar for men with shorter durations of ADT and men with longer durations of ADT. However, by 7 years, more men in the longer ADT cohort (45%) had sustained at least 1 pathologic or nonpathologic fracture compared with men in the shorter ADT cohort (40%).
Conclusions: In the current study, men with prostate carcinoma were found to be at risk for adverse bone effects from both the disease and the treatment. These longitudinal data revealed that fractures are common in this patient population and appear to be linked to the duration of ADT.