Bone density loss on computed tomography at 3-year follow-up in current compared to former male smokers.Eur J Radiol 2017; 89:177-181EJ
Cigarette smoking negatively affects bone quality and increases fracture risk. Little is known on the effect of smoking cessation and computed tomography (CT)-derived bone mineral density (BMD) decline in the spine. We evaluated the association of current and former smoking with BMD decline after 3-year follow-up.
Male current and former smokers participating in a lung cancer screening trial who underwent baseline and 3-year follow-up CT were included. BMD was measured by manual placement of a region of interest in the first lumbar vertebra and expressed in Hounsfield Unit (HU). Multiple linear regression analysis was used to evaluate the association between pack years smoked and smoking status with BMD decline.
408 participants were included with median (25th-75th percentile) age of 59.4 (55.9-63.5) years. At the start of the study, 197 (48.3%) participants were current smokers and 211 (51.7%) were former smokers and had a similar amount of pack years. Current smokers had quit smoking for 6 (4-8) years prior to inclusion. There was no difference in BMD between current and former smokers at baseline (109±34 HU vs. 108±32 HU, p=0.96). At 3-year follow-up, current smokers had a mean BMD decline of -3±13 HU (p=0.001), while BMD in former smokers did not change as compared to baseline (1±13 HU, p=0.34). After adjustment for BMD at baseline and body mass index, current smoking was independently associated with BMD decline (-3.8 HU, p=0.003). Age, pack years, and the presence of a fracture at baseline did not associate with BMD decline.
Current smokers showed a more rapid BMD decline over a 3-year period compared to former smokers. This information might be important to identify subjects at risk for osteoporosis and emphasizes the importance of smoking cessation in light of BMD decline.