Pilot study of bone mineral density in breast cancer patients treated with adjuvant chemotherapy

Cancer Invest. 1998;16(1):6-11. doi: 10.3109/07357909809039747.


The objective of this cross-sectional study was to determine lumbar spine bone mineral density (BMD) in breast cancer patients previously treated with adjuvant chemotherapy. Sixteen of 27 patients who received adjuvant chemotherapy became permanently amenorrheic as a result of chemotherapy. BMD was measured at the lumbar spine using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA). Chemotherapy drugs and dosages along with a history of risk factors for reduced bone density including activity level, tobacco and/or alcohol use, metabolic bone disease, family history, and hormone exposure were identified. Results showed that women who became permanently amenorrheic as a result of chemotherapy had BMD 14% lower than women who maintained menses after chemotherapy. Chemotherapy-treated women who maintained ovarian function had normal BMD. This study suggests that women who have premature menopause as a result of chemotherapy for breast cancer are at increased risk of bone loss and may be at risk for early development of osteoporosis. Women who maintain menses do not appear to be at risk for accelerated trabecular bone loss.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Bone Density
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cyclophosphamide / administration & dosage
  • Diet
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Menopause
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoporosis / genetics
  • Physical Fitness
  • Pilot Projects


  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Calcium