Clinical utility of bone turnover markers in the management of common metabolic bone diseases in adults

Paul Glendenning, S. A.Paul Chubb, Samuel Vasikaran

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Bone turnover marker (BTMs) concentrations in blood and urine reflect bone-remodelling activity, and may be useful adjuncts in the diagnosis and management of metabolic bone diseases. Newer biomarkers, mainly bone regulatory proteins, are currently being investigated to elucidate their role in bone metabolism and disease and may in future be useful in clinical diagnosis and management of metabolic bone disease. BTM concentrations increase around menopause in women, and at a population level the degree of increase in BTMs reflect bone loss. However, lack of adequate data precludes their use in individual patients for fracture risk assessment in clinical practice. The rapid and large changes in BTMs following anti-resorptive and anabolic therapies for osteoporosis treatment indicate they may be useful for monitoring therapy in clinical practice. The offset of drug effect on BTMs could be helpful for adjudicating the duration of bisphosphonate drug holidays. BTMs may offer useful additional data in skeletal diseases that are typically characterised by increased bone remodelling: chronic kidney disease (CKD), primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) and Paget's disease. In CKD, bone specific alkaline phosphatase (bAP) is currently endorsed for use for the assessment of mineral bone disease. The role of BTMsin predicting the bone mineral density response to successful parathyroidectomy in PHPT shows some utility but the data are not consistent and studies are limited in size and/or duration. In Paget's disease of bone, BTMs are used to confirm diagnosis, evaluate extent of disease or degree of activity and for monitoring the response to bisphosphonate treatment. Whilst BTMs are currently used in specific clinical practice instances when investigating or managing metabolic bone disease, further data are needed to consolidate their clinical use where evidence of utility is limited.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-170
Number of pages10
JournalClinica Chimica Acta
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018


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