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Side Effect: Bone Fracture (Broken Bone)

What is a Bone Fracture (Broken Bone)?

What does a Bone Fracture (Broken Bone) look like?

Symptoms of a bone fracture can include:

Symptoms of bone loss are often invisible to the naked eye, so your healthcare team will need to order a test to check your bone density. The test most commonly used is called a DXA or “DEXA” scan which stands for Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry scan, which is a painless and easy-to-conduct study.

Who is at risk for a Bone Fracture (Broken Bone)?

Studies have also shown that targeted therapies such as imatinib, nilotinib, and dasatinib, as well as ibrutinib can increase bone loss that may increase the risk of bone fracture.

In some cases, steroids are part of cancer treatment. Taking steroids for an extended period of time (greater than 3 months) can increase the risk of bone fractures.

Certain cancers, such as multiple myeloma, may invade bones causing them to weaken under normal pressure. Over time, the bone may weaken to a point where a person may break a leg simply by standing from a seated position. This type of bone break is known as a “pathologic fracture.”

How do you prevent a Bone Fracture (Broken Bone)?

Preventing bone fracture in patients with cancer involves a combination of lifestyle changes, such as maintaining a healthy diet rich in calcium and vitamin D and engaging in regular exercise.

Calcium rich foods include:

Foods rich in vitamin D include:

How do you treat a Bone Fracture (Broken Bone)?

Your physician may also recommend targeted treatments to prevent bone loss and improve bone density such as bisphosphonates or denosumab (Prolia®, Xgeva®). Common bisphosphonates include:

Intravenous infusions:

Oral pills:


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2) Mancuso, S., Scaturro, D., Santoro, M. et al. Bone damage after chemotherapy for lymphoma: a real-world experience. BMC Musculoskelet Disord 22, 1024 (2021). 

3) Allouchery M, Tomowiak C, Lombard T, et al. Safety Profile of Ibrutinib: An Analysis of the WHO Pharmacovigilance Database. Front Pharmacol. 2021 Oct 28;12:769315.

4) Vandyke K, Fitter S, Dewar AL, et al; Dysregulation of bone remodeling by imatinib mesylate. Blood 2010; 115 (4): 766–774.

Created: April 26, 2024 Updated: April 26, 2024