Bone mineral content and prostate cancer risk: data from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging

BJU Int. 2010 Jul;106(1):28-31. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-410X.2009.09109.x. Epub 2010 Jan 6.


Study type: Aetiology (inception cohort) Level of Evidence 2b.

Objective: To determine whether there might be differences in bone mineral content (BMC) between men who develop life-threatening prostate cancer and those who do not, as bone is a common site of prostate cancer metastases.

Subjects and methods: From 1973 to 1984, BMC was serially measured in 519 participants (778 observations) as part of a longitudinal study of ageing. We examined the association between serial BMC measurements with the development of overall and high-risk prostate cancer over the next one to three decades. For all prostate cancer cases, BMC was censored at the time of diagnosis.

Results: During a median (range) overall follow-up of 21.1 (0.2-35.0) years after the last BMC measurement, 76 (14.6%) men were later diagnosed with prostate cancer (18 high-risk and 58 not high-risk). BMC declined with age to a greater extent in healthy controls than among men diagnosed with prostate cancer (P = 0.018, likelihood ratio test), and tended to decline less in high-risk than non-high-risk cases.

Conclusion: The distribution of BMC was significantly different between men who did and did not develop prostate cancer, over an extended follow-up. Specifically, BMC appeared to decline to a greater extent with age among healthy controls than in men with prostate cancer, especially high-risk disease. The biology underlying the lesser decline in BMC among men with prostate cancer remains unclear, but suggests that host factors in the bony milieu might be associated with prostate cancer development and progression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology
  • Baltimore / epidemiology
  • Bone Density / physiology*
  • Bone Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Bone Neoplasms / secondary
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Prognosis
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / epidemiology