Greater pQCT Calf Muscle Density Is Associated with Lower Fracture Risk, Independent of FRAX, Falls and BMD: A Meta-Analysis in the Osteoporotic Fractures in Men (MrOS) Study

Nicholas C. Harvey, Eric Orwoll, Jane A. Cauley, Timothy Kwok, Magnus K. Karlsson, Björn E. Rosengren, Eva Ribom, Peggy M. Cawthon, Kristine Ensrud, Enwu Liu, Faidra Laskou, Kate A. Ward, Elaine M. Dennison, Cyrus Cooper, John A. Kanis, Liesbeth Vandenput, Mattias Lorentzon, Claes Ohlsson, Dan Mellström, Helena JohanssonEugene McCloskey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Downloads (Pure)


We investigated the predictive performance of peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT) measures of both calf muscle density (an established surrogate for muscle adiposity, with higher values indicating lower muscle adiposity and higher muscle quality) and size (cross-sectional area [CSA]) for incident fracture. pQCT (Stratec XCT2000/3000) measurements at the tibia were undertaken in Osteoporotic Fractures in Men (MrOS) United States (US), Hong Kong (HK), and Swedish (SW) cohorts. Analyses were by cohort and synthesized by meta-analysis. The predictive value for incident fracture outcomes, illustrated here for hip fracture (HF), using an extension of Poisson regression adjusted for age and follow-up time, was expressed as hazard ratio (HR) per standard deviation (SD) increase in exposure (HR/SD). Further analyses adjusted for femoral neck (fn) bone mineral density (BMD) T-score, Fracture Risk Assessment Tool (FRAX) 10-year fracture probability (major osteoporotic fracture) and prior falls. We studied 991 (US), 1662 (HK), and 1521 (SW) men, mean ± SD age 77.0 ± 5.1, 73.9 ± 4.9, 80 ± 3.4 years, followed for a mean ± SD 7.8 ± 2.2, 8.1 ± 2.3, 5.3 ± 2.0 years, with 31, 47, and 78 incident HFs, respectively. Both greater muscle CSA and greater muscle density were associated with a lower risk of incident HF [HR/SD: 0.84; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.72–1.0 and 0.78; 95% CI, 0.66–0.91, respectively]. The pattern of associations was not materially changed by adjustment for prior falls or FRAX probability. In contrast, after inclusion of fn BMD T-score, the association for muscle CSA was no longer apparent (1.04; 95% CI, 0.88–1.24), whereas that for muscle density was not materially changed (0.69; 95% CI, 0.59–0.82). Findings were similar for osteoporotic fractures. pQCT measures of greater calf muscle density and CSA were both associated with lower incidence of fractures in older men, but only muscle density remained an independent risk factor for fracture after accounting for fn BMD. These findings demonstrate a complex interplay between measures of bone, muscle size, and quality, in determining fracture risk.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere10696
Number of pages9
JournalJBMR Plus
Issue number12
Early online date8 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • FRAX
  • PQCT


Dive into the research topics of 'Greater pQCT Calf Muscle Density Is Associated with Lower Fracture Risk, Independent of FRAX, Falls and BMD: A Meta-Analysis in the Osteoporotic Fractures in Men (MrOS) Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this