FRAX tool useful in breast cancer patients treated with aromatase inhibitors

The FRAX® tool takes into account certain factors to determine the risk of bone fracture in the general population. In a Journal of Bone and Mineral Research study, the tool was effective at determining fracture risk for women with breast cancer who were treated with aromatase inhibitors, which cause accelerated bone loss, when combined with bone mineral density measurements.

However, the results also question the practice of considering aromatase inhibitors a "secondary cause of osteoporosis" when the FRAX® tool is used without bone mineral density, because this can lead to overestimation of fracture risk. Nonetheless, it is very important to determine fracture risk in women receiving aromatase inhibitor therapy who will most likely experience bone loss during treatment.

"We hope that our data will help to inform clinical guidelines regarding fracture risk assessment in women with breast cancer, and the incorporation of FRAX® in management algorithms of those receiving aromatase inhibitors," said lead author Dr. William D. Leslie, of the University of Manitoba, in Canada.

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