Strong correlation between cachexia and markers of bone loss

By: Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences
KREMS, Austria - July 27, 2021 - PRLog -- Krems (Austria), 27th July 2021 – Weight loss and muscle wasting in cancer patients have a deleterious effect on bone metabolism. This is the key finding of a new study carried out at Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences in Krems (KL Krems). The study demonstrated a significant correlation between cachexia and elevated markers of bone loss. The results pave the way for new preventive strategies for targeting osteoporosis in this fragile patient group. The findings were published in the international journal BMC Cancer.

Approximately half of all patients with advanced cancer suffer from cachexia, a wasting syndrome characterised by significant loss of fat and muscle tissue, as well as systemic inflammation. Cachexia leads to metabolic changes in many organs, including the bone. Bone disease in cancer patients has been generally attributed to skeletal metastasis or hormone-based therapies. Now, a team of physicians of Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences in Krems (KL Krems) has investigated whether cachexia could also contribute to bone disease in cancer patients.

Bone Metabolism

"Our results show that cachexia increases bone turnover in cancer patients, possibly resulting in bone damage," explains Dr. Sonia Vallet senior physician at the Department of Internal Medicine 2 at Krems University Hospital who headed the study. The authors systematically evaluated markers of bone formation and bone resorption in the blood of newly diagnosed male cancer patients, to avoid interference of treatment and hormonal status with the results. Bone markers included fragments of carboxy terminal telopeptide of collagen (C-terminal crosslinks, or CTX), which is an indicator of bone resorption, as well as osteocalcin (Ocn) and procollagen type I N-terminal propeptide (PINP), both indicators of bone formation. At the begin of the study, weight loss, body mass index and muscle mass of the patients were recorded. This allowed the researchers to identify patients with cachexia (60%) or not (40%); the latter served as control group.

Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences
Mag. Barbara Peutz
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