Radiation-induced bone fracture is a relatively common late complication of cancer treatment. RT-induced skeletal fractures at directly irradiated locations can result in substantial patient morbidity, loss of independence and increased mortality.
For example 30-40 percent of patients receiving high-dose-per-fraction radiation therapy (SBRT) for primary lung cancer experience a rib fracture within three years. The risk of hip fracture in postmenopausal women treated for cervical, rectal and anal cancers is greatly increased (Relative Risk: 1.66, 1.65, and 3.14) five years after RT, and approximately 20 percent of women from this demographic will die within a year of hip fracture.
Our ongoing research projects are currently developing:
- an imaging algorithm that will characterize the extent and progression of bone loss and deterioration during the course of RT and at both short and long-term follow-up
- a predictive indicator that will identify which patients are most at-risk for developing a RT-induced fracture.