Prostate Cancer Development Associated with High Bone Density

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
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Researchers says men with higher bone density may be more likely to develop prostate cancer, especially more aggressive forms that spread. Prostate cancer often metastasizes to the bone, leading researchers to explore whether there is a hormonal connection between and prostate cancer development and metastasis and bone density.

Scientists from Johns Hopkins and the National Institute on Aging (NIA) explored the link between prostate cancer and bone density among 519 men enrolled in NIA’s Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. Though the study was small, the researchers say it paves the way to explore factors that contribute to prostate cancer such as hormones that influence bone density that normally declines with aging.

Stacy Loeb, M.D., a resident in the Department of Urology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine explains, “We reasoned there may be some difference between men who develop prostate cancer, especially metastatic disease, and those who don’t, and it was logical to see if there was something different about their bones."

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Among the men studied, 76 developed prostate cancer whose bone density remained higher as the aged. Eighteen men developed aggressive forms of the disease that were also found to have the highest bone density.

The researchers plan to continue studying how hormones and bone density might be related in hopes of uncovering pathways that lead to prostate cancer. “If we can elucidate the underlying pathways, we could develop strategies for preventing prostate cancer from occurring or spreading.” Loeb says.

The researchers are not recommending bone density scans as a tool for predicting prostate cancer. The study suggests there may be common factors that influence bone density that are also tied to the development of prostate cancer, especially aggressive forms of the disease.

Johns Hopkins

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