Clinical utility of bone markers in various diseases

Bone. 2018 Sep:114:215-225. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2018.06.011. Epub 2018 Jun 18.


Measurements of bone markers (BMs) in peripheral blood or urine are a pivotal part of bone research within modern clinical medicine. In recent years the use of BMs increased substantially as they can be useful either to diagnose bone (related) disease and to follow its natural history, but also to monitor the effects of interventions. However, the use of BMs is still complicated mainly due to (pre)analytical variability of these substances, limited accessibility of assays, variable cut-off values in different countries and laboratories and heterogeneous results with regard to clinical implications of measuring BMs in several studies. This review will provide the clinician with a practical guide, based on current evidence, in which circumstances to test which bone markers for optimal diagnostic purposes, in order to improve patient care in different areas of bone diseases including Paget's disease, primary osteoporosis, tumor induced osteomalacia, hypophosphatemic rickets, van Buchem disease, chronic kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, neoplasma/multiple myeloma, type 2 diabetes mellitus and primary hyperparathyroidism. The clinician should consider fasting state, recent fractures, aging, menopausal status, concomitant liver and kidney disease when ordering and interpreting BM measurements as these factors might result in misleading BM concentrations. We found that BMs are clearly useful in the current diagnosis of tumor induced osteomalacia, van Buchem disease, Paget's disease and hypophosphatemic rickets. In addition, BMs are useful to monitor disease activity in chronic kidney disease, Paget's disease and are useful to monitor treatment adherence in osteoporosis.

Keywords: BALP; Bone derived hormones; Bone markers; Bone turnover; CTX-I; Clinical utility; FGF23; Hypophosphatemic disease; Metabolic bone disease; Osteoblast; Osteocalcin; Osteoclast; Osteocyte; Osteoporosis; PINP; Paget; Review; Sclerostin; Tumor induced osteomalacia; van Buchem disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Biomarkers / urine
  • Bone Diseases / blood*
  • Bone Diseases / diagnosis
  • Bone Diseases / urine*
  • Bone Remodeling / physiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / urine
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor-23
  • Humans
  • Osteitis Deformans / blood
  • Osteitis Deformans / diagnosis
  • Osteoporosis / blood
  • Osteoporosis / diagnosis
  • Osteoporosis / urine


  • Biomarkers
  • FGF23 protein, human
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor-23