CT image-based biomarkers for opportunistic screening of osteoporotic fractures: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Anitha D. Praveen, Nico Sollmann, Thomas Baum, Stephen J. Ferguson, Helgason Benedikt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The use of opportunistic computed tomography (CT) image-based biomarkers may be a low-cost strategy for screening older individuals at high risk for osteoporotic fractures and populations that are not sufficiently targeted. This review aimed to assess the discriminative ability of image-based biomarkers derived from existing clinical routine CT scans for hip, vertebral, and major osteoporotic fracture prediction. A systematic search in PubMed MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane, and Web of Science was conducted from the earliest indexing date until July 2023. The evaluation of study quality was carried out using a modified Quality Assessment Tool for Diagnostic Accuracy Studies (QUADAS-2) checklist. The primary outcome of interest was the area under the curve (AUC) and its corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs) obtained for four main categories of biomarkers: areal bone mineral density (BMD), image attenuation, volumetric BMD, and finite element (FE)-derived biomarkers. The meta-analyses were performed using random effects models. Sixty-one studies were included in this review, among which 35 were synthesized in a meta-analysis and the remaining articles were qualitatively synthesized. In comparison to the pooled AUC of areal BMD (0.73 [95% CI 0.71–0.75]), the pooled AUC values for predicting osteoporotic fractures for FE-derived parameters (0.77 [95% CI 0.72–0.81]; p < 0.01) and volumetric BMD (0.76 [95% CI 0.71–0.81]; p < 0.01) were significantly higher, but there was no significant difference with the pooled AUC for image attenuation (0.73 [95% CI 0.66–0.79]; p = 0.93). Compared to areal BMD, volumetric BMD and FE-derived parameters may provide a significant improvement in the discrimination of osteoporotic fractures using opportunistic CT assessments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)971-996
Number of pages26
JournalOsteoporosis International
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone mineral density
  • Computed tomography
  • Finite-element analysis
  • Fractures
  • Meta-analysis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Systematic review


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