Cancer treatment-induced bone loss (CTIBL) is a long-term side effect of breast cancer therapy. Both calcitriol and weight-bearing exercise improve bone metabolism for osteoporotic patients, but are unproven in a breast cancer population. We used a novel high-dose calcitriol regimen with an individualized exercise intervention to improve bone metabolism in breast cancer survivors.
We accrued 41 subjects to this open label, 2 × 2 factorial, randomized feasibility trial. Breast cancer survivors were randomized to receive the following: (1) calcitriol (45 micrograms/week), (2) individualized exercise with progressive walking and resistance training, (3) both, or (4) a daily multivitamin (control condition) for 12 weeks. Primary outcomes included changes in biomarkers of bone formation, bone resorption, and the bone remodeling index, a composite measure of bone formation and resorption. Safety measures included clinical and biochemical adverse events. A main effect analysis was used for these endpoints.
Hypercalcemia was limited to three grade I cases with no grade ≥ 2 cases. Among exercisers, 100% engaged in the prescribed aerobic training and 44.4% engaged in the prescribed resistance training. Calcitriol significantly improved bone formation (Cohen’s d = 0.64; p < 0.01), resulting in a non-significant increase in the bone remodeling index (Cohen’s d = 0.21; p = 31). Exercise failed to improve any of the bone biomarkers.
Both calcitriol and exercise were shown to be feasible and well tolerated. Calcitriol significantly improved bone formation, resulting in a net increase of bone metabolism. Compliance with the exercise intervention was sub-optimal, which may have led to a lack of effect of exercise on bone metabolism.
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This study was reviewed and approved by the URMC Research Subjects Review Board (RSRB). All research participants gave written informed consent.
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The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
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Peppone, L.J., Ling, M., Huston, A.J. et al. The effects of high-dose calcitriol and individualized exercise on bone metabolism in breast cancer survivors on hormonal therapy: a phase II feasibility trial. Support Care Cancer 26, 2675–2683 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00520-018-4094-4
- Breast cancer
- Hormonal therapy
- Bone metabolism
- Bone health