Effects of Denosumab Treatment and Discontinuation
on Bone Mineral Density and Bone Turnover Markers
in Postmenopausal Women with Low Bone Mass
Context: Denosumab treatment for 24 months increased bone mineral density (BMD) and reduced
bone turnover markers (BTM) in postmenopausal women.
Objective: The aim was to determine the effects of prior denosumab or placebo injections on BMD,
BTM, and safety over 24 months after treatment discontinuation.
Design: We conducted an off-treatment extension of a phase 3, randomized, double-blind, parallel-group study.
Participants: A total of 256 postmenopausal women with a mean age of 59 yr and a mean lumbar
spine T-score of 1.61 at randomization participated in the study.
Interventions: Participants received placebo or 60 mg denosumab every 6 months for 24 months,
followed by 24 months off treatment.
Main Outcome Measures: We measured the percentage changes in BMD and BTM, and evaluated
Results: Of the 256 participants enrolled in the posttreatment phase, 87% completed the study.
During 24 months of denosumab treatment, BMD increased (lumbar spine, 6.4%; total hip, 3.6%;
1/3 radius, 1.4%), and BTM decreased (serum C-terminal telopeptide of type 1 collagen, 63%; and
N-terminal tripeptide of type 1 procollagen, 47%), compared with placebo. After discontinuation,
BMD declined, but the previously treated denosumab group maintained higher BMD than the
previously treated placebo group at these sites (P 0.05). Final BMD at month 48 strongly correlated with month 0 BMD. After denosumab discontinuation, BTM increased above baseline within
3 months (serum C-terminal telopeptide of type 1 collagen) or 6 months (N-terminal propertide
of type 1 procollagen) and returned to baseline by month 48. Adverse event rates during the
off-treatment phase were similar between groups.
Conclusions: In postmenopausal women with low BMD, the effects of 60 mg denosumab treatment
for 24 months on BMD and BTM are reversible upon discontinuation, reflecting its biological
mechanism of action. Residual BMD measurements remained above those of the group previously
treated with placebo. (J Clin Endocrinol Metab 96: 972–980, 2011)