Childhood cancer survivors (CCS) are at increased risk of hypogonadism. Reduced bone mineral density (BMD) has been reported in CCS but it is unclear whether this is due to hypogonadism or a direct effect of cancer therapy. This study investigated BMD in CCS, and association with hypogonadism, previous treatment and cancer type.
Investigation of 125 CCS (median age 33.7 at inclusion; 9.6 at diagnosis) and 125 age-matched population controls. Serum testosterone and luteinizing hormone were assayed and BMD at total hip and lumbar spine L1-L4 measured. The mean difference in BMD (g/cm; 95% CI) between CCS and controls was analysed. Odds ratios (OR; 95% CI) for low BMD were also calculated.
Overall, BMD in the CCS cohort did not significantly differ from controls. However, compared with eugonadal CCS, the CCS with untreated hypogonadism had lower BMD at the hip (mean difference - 0.139 (- 0.210; - 0.067); p < 0.001) and spine (- 0.102 (- 0.174; - 0.030); p = 0.006). They also had a higher risk of low hip BMD (OR 4.1 (1.3; 14); p = 0.018). CCS treated with cranial irradiation also had lower BMD (hip - 0.076 (- 0.133; - 0.019); p = 0.009; spine - 0.071 (- 0.124; - 0.018); p = 0.009) compared with controls. The latter associations remained statistically significant after adjustment for hypogonadism.
CCS with hypogonadism or previously treated with cranial irradiation are at increased risk of impaired bone health. Prevention of osteoporosis should be considered as an important part in future follow-up of these men.