We report a prospective, randomized, multi-center, open-label 2-year trial of 81 postmenopausal women aged 53-79 years with at least one minimal-trauma vertebral fracture (VF) and low (T-score below 2) lumbar bone mineral density (BMD). Group HRT received piperazine estrone sulfate (PES) 0.625 - 1.25 mg/d +/- medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) 2.5 - 5 mg/d,- group HRT/D received HRT plus calcitriol 0.25 mug bd. All with a baseline dietary calcium (Ca) of < I g/d received Ca carbonate 0.6 g nocte. Final data were on 66 - 70 patients. On HRT/D, significant (P < 0.001) BNID increases from baseline by DXA were at total body - head, trochanter, Ward's, total hip, inter-trochanter and femoral shaft (% group mean Delta 4.2, 6.1, 9.3. 3.7. 3.3 and 3.3%, respectively). On HRT, at these significant Deltas were restricted to the trochanter and sites. si Wards. Significant advantages of HRT/D over HRT were in BMD of total body (- head), total hip and trochanter (all P = 0.01). The differences in mean Delta at these sites were 1.3, 2.6 and 3.9%. At the following, both groups Improved significantly -lumbar spine (AP and lateral), forearm shaft and ultradistal tibia/fibula. The weightbearing, site - specific benefits of the combination associated with significant suppression of parathyroid hormone-suggest a beneficial effect on cortical bone. Suppression of bone turnover was significantly greater on HRT/D (serum osteocalcin P = 0.024 and urinary hydroxyproline/creatinine ratio P = 0.035). There was no significant difference in the number of patients who developed fresh VFs during the trial (HRT 8/36, 22%; HRT/D 4/34, 12% - intention to treat); likewise in the number who developed incident nonvertebral fractures. This Is the first study comparing the 2 treatments in a fracture population. The results indicate a significant benefit of calcitriol combined with HRT on total body BMD and on BNID at the hip, the major site of osteoporotic fracture.