The 87th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2018)

The effects of cancer treatment-induced bone loss on morphological sex assessment


1Anatomy and Neurobiology, Boston University, 2Anthropology, Boston University

April 12, 2018 , Zilker 1/2/3 Add to calendar

Cancer is currently the second most common cause of death in the U.S. As treatments for cancer are rapidly changing, it is vital to understand how these medications affect the human skeleton. Presently, little research has been conducted on how medications alter the skeleton and impact the biological profile. One of the primary side effects of drug-based treatments is cancer treatment-induced bone loss (CTIBL), which may impact the expression of sexual dimorphism. It is hypothesized that CTIBL will decrease the robusticity of sexually dimorphic nonmetric traits, and skew the ordinal scores towards gracile. A total of 178 individuals with documented cancer and/or treatment and 178 individuals without documented cancer from the William M. Bass Donated Skeletal Collection at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, were assessed following conventional standards for the skull and os coxa. The individuals ranged in age from 26 to 97 years and included 350 European Americans, two African Americans, one Asian/Polynesian, and three Native Americans. IBM’s Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) calculated Chi-Square and ANOVA analyses. The results indicate no relationship between cancer treatment status and the trait scores (p > 0.05). Possible confounders of the study include the unknown duration of cancer treatments and the assumption that the individuals included in the sample were accurately documented. Though CTIBL does not appear to affect morphological sex assessment, further research should be conducted on the possible effects of CTIBL for other components of the biological profile.