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San Francisco, CA, May 30, 2010–Patients undergoing three dimensional external beam radiation therapy (3D-EBRT) for prostate cancer may be at an increased risk of hip fracture and could benefit from additional measures to improve bone health following treatment, according to a study from researchers in Minneapolis. The data, which are being presented during the 105th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Urological Association (AUA), will be presented to the media during a special press conference on Sunday, May 30 at 1:30 p.m. PDT.

Fractures can impact a patient’s quality of life and mortality, and fracture risk is a well-known concern in prostate cancer patients who undergo androgen suppression therapy (AST), which is known to weaken bones. EBRT has been shown to increase hip-fracture risk in women, and researchers explored whether EBRT impacted a man’s risk and, if so, whether this effect extended beyond the radiation field. 

Researchers identified 166,162 prostate cancer patients, ages 66 years and older, in the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) database and compared hip fracture risk (inside the radiation field)  vs. wrist fracture risk (outside the radiation field) in those who had undergone EBRT and those who had not. After controlling for those who were undergoing AST, as well as other risk factors including osteoporosis, race and age, researchers determined that undergoing EBRT increased a man’s risk of hip fracture by 58 percent, without increasing the risk of wrist fracture. Patients being treated with AST had an increased risk of both types of break.

“Maintaining bone health is an important part of treating prostate cancer patients, particularly those on AST,” said Jeff Holzbeierlein, MD, an AUA spokesman. “These data suggest that we might consider taking similar measures with our patients who are receiving three dimensional external beam radiation therapy.”

NOTE TO REPORTERS: Experts are available to discuss this study outside normal briefing times. To arrange an interview with an expert, please contact the AUA Communications Office at the number above or e-mail 

About the American Urological Association: Founded in 1902 and headquartered near Baltimore, Maryland, the American Urological Association is the pre-eminent professional organization for urologists, with more than 16,000 members throughout the world. An educational nonprofit organization, the AUA pursues its mission of fostering the highest standards of urologic care by carrying out a wide variety of programs for members and their patients.

Wendy Isett, AUA