Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2020 Jan 7. doi: 10.1007/s10549-019-05518-z. [Epub ahead of print]
Osteoporosis and fragility fracture are major bone toxicities of aromatase inhibitors (AIs) for postmenopausal hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. Except for a few small studies on bone turnover markers and reduced bone mineral density after AI treatment, data on the associations of bone markers and risk of osteoporosis or fracture from prospective studies are lacking.
In a prospective study of 1709 women on AIs, two bone turnover markers, BALP and TRACP, and two bone regulatory markers, RANKL and OPG, were measured and examined in relation to risk of osteoporosis and fragility fractures during a median follow-up time of 6.1 years.
Higher levels of BALP and TRACP were both associated with increased risk of osteoporosis and higher BALP/TRACP ratios were associated with lower risk of osteoporosis, but no associations were observed for fracture risk. Higher levels of OPG were associated with increased risk of fracture, whereas higher levels of RANKL were associated with lower risk. As a result, OPG/RANKL ratios were positively associated with fracture risk [hazard ratio (HR) = 2.49, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.34-4.61]. After controlling for age and fracture history, the associations became non-significant but a suggestive trend remained (HR = 1.80, 95% CI 0.96-3.37).
Our study provides suggestive evidence for the potential utility of OPG/RANKL ratios in predicting risk of fracture in women treated with AIs for breast cancer. Further validation may be warranted.