Novel Serum Markers of Bone Resorption: Clinical Assessment and Comparison with Established Urinary Indices



Although urinary measurements of collagen degradation provide valid estimates of bone resorption, their clinical application is hampered by pronounced analytical and biological variability. Therefore, immunoassays for the determination of such parameters in serum have been developed. In this study, we assessed the performance of three new serum markers of bone turnover, i.e., C-terminal and N-terminal telopeptides of type I collagen (S-CTX and S-NTX) and bone sialoprotein. Results were compared with urinary total pyridinoline, total deoxypyridinoline, and urinary C-terminal telopeptides of type I collagen (U-CTX) and urinary N-terminal telopeptides of type I collagen (U-NTX). The study population included healthy men (n = 27), premenopausal (n = 30) and postmenopausal (n = 31) women, patients with hepatic dysfunction (HF, n = 24), renal failure (RF, n = 30), breast cancer without (BC–, n = 24) and with (BC+, n = 30) bone metastases, primary vertebral osteoporosis (OPO, n = 27), primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT, n = 16), active Paget's disease of bone (n = 18), multiple myeloma (MM, n = 18), and patients with hypercalcemia of malignancy before and after treatment with pamidronate (HOM, n = 28). Changes in urinary and serum markers were similar in most metabolic bone diseases. However, differentiation between healthy controls and OPO, or PHPT, was improved by the serum markers. In MM, all serum and urinary markers were elevated (p < 0.05 vs. controls). In BC+, skeletal involvement was reflected by significant increments in all indices (p < 0.01 vs. BC–), except U-CTX and S-CTX. In HOM, pamidronate-induced changes in biomarkers were most pronounced for U-CTX and S-CTX and S-NTX. HF and RF were associated with elevated levels of all serum markers (p < 0.05 vs. controls). In conclusion, measurements in serum reflect bone resorption to the same extent as the urinary indices. Since serum markers circumvent some of the limitations of urinary measurements, their use potentially improves the assessment of skeletal disorders.