The diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis in men on androgen deprivation therapy for advanced carcinoma of the prostate

J Urol. 2004 Dec;172(6 Pt 1):2137-44. doi: 10.1097/01.ju.0000141515.67372.e5.


Purpose: Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) for advanced prostate cancer increases the risk of osteoporosis. Thus, the practicing urologist should be aware of the appropriate assessment and management. In this article we review the tests designed to diagnose osteoporosis as well as treatment options. We also review methods to monitor the response to therapy and make recommendations for management.

Materials and methods: We performed a MEDLINE (1966 to 2004) search for the terms male, osteoporosis, bone mineral density, prostate cancer, androgen deprivation therapy, bisphosphonates, estrogen and the combinations thereof. We then constructed a management algorithm based on the best evidence available.

Results: Dual energy x-ray absorptiometry of the hip is the gold standard test for osteoporosis. Biochemical markers of bone turnover are not suitable for diagnosis but they have been shown to be useful for monitoring the response to treatment. Smoking cessation, weight bearing exercise, and vitamin D and calcium have been shown to help improve bone mineral density (BMD). Bisphosphonates have been demonstrated to increase BMD and decrease fracture risk in men with osteoporosis. Estrogens have also recently been shown to decrease bone turnover and increase BMD in men on ADT.

Conclusions: Hip dual energy x-ray absorptiometry should be performed in all men who are anticipated to be on long-term ADT. In addition, all men on ADT should receive vitamin D and calcium supplementation, and perform regular weight bearing exercise. The value of smoking cessation cannot be overstated. In men who have osteopenia or osteoporosis bisphosphonate therapy should be initiated. Estrogen therapy has shown promise but specific recommendations cannot be made at this time.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Androgen Antagonists / adverse effects*
  • Androgen Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / agonists*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Orchiectomy / adverse effects*
  • Osteoporosis / diagnosis*
  • Osteoporosis / etiology
  • Osteoporosis / therapy*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / therapy*


  • Androgen Antagonists
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone