Mechanical properties of trabecular bone within and adjacent to osseous metastases

John A. Hipp, Andrew E. Rosenberg, Wilson C. Hayes

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41 Scopus citations


Despite radiographic and histologic evidence of trabecular bone density changes within and adjacent to osseous metastases, there currently exist no data to demonstrate whether these changes are important in predict-ing the risk of fracture. To determine if these density changes result in significant reductions in mechanical properties, trabecular bone specimens were prepared from lower thoracic and lumbar vertebrae from two cadavers with radiographic, gross, and histologic evidence of lytic and/or blastic osseous metastases. Each specimen was classified as normal, lytic, or blastic based on appearance in fine-grain radiographs of 8-9 mm thick coronal plane sections. Specimens were tested to failure in uniaxial compression, and tissue and apparent densities were measured. Mean tissue densities were within normal ranges. The mean apparent density for all specimens combined was within the normal range for human vertebrae, and the mean apparent density for radiographically normal (0.131 g/ml) and lytic (0.111 g/ml) specimens was less than the mean apparent density of blastic (0.182 g/ml) specimens (p < 0.02). The moduli of lytic and blastic specimens were less than for normal specimens (p < 0.025). The strength of lytic specimens was less than normal (p = 0.057), but the strength of blastic specimens was not (p > 0.1). Apparent density explained significant fractions of the variations in both modulus (p < 0.001) and strength (p < 0.001). The data suggest that blastic changes associated with osseous metastases to trabecular bone disrupt the normal dependence of trabecular mechanical properties on apparent density, but lytic changes do not. These data also suggest that fracture risk predictors that utilize bone density to estimate stiffness or strength should adjust for the effects of metastases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1165-1171
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Bone and Mineral Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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