Purpose The aim of this study was to determine the effect of single fraction (SF) and multiple fraction (MF) radiation therapy (RT) on bone mineral density (BMD) in patients with cancer and bone metastases in the proximal femur. We studied this effect in the radiation field and within metastatic lesions, and differentiated between lytic, blastic, and mixed lesions. Methods and materials This prospective cohort study comprised 42 patients with painful bone metastases, including 47 irradiated femora with 52 metastatic lesions in the proximal femur. Patients received either 8 Gy SF or 20 to 24 Gy in 5 to 6 fractions (MF). Quantitative computed tomography scans were obtained before RT and 4 and 10 weeks after the initial scan. Patients who received MF additionally underwent quantitative computed tomography on the final day of their treatment. Automated image registration was performed. Mean BMD was determined at each time point for each proximal femur (region of interest [ROI]-PF) and in greater detail for a region of interest that contained the metastatic lesion (ROI-ML). Statistical analysis was performed using linear mixed models. Results No significant differences in mean BMD were found between SF or MF RT over all time points in both ROI-PF and ROI-ML. Mean BMD did not change in ROI-PF with lytic and mixed lesions, but mean BMD in ROI-PF with blastic lesions increased to 109%. Comparably, when focused on ROI-ML, no differences in mean BMD were observed in lytic ROI-ML but mean BMD in mixed and blastic ROI-ML increased up to 105% and 121%, respectively. Conclusions Ten weeks after palliative radiation therapy in patients with femoral metastatic lesions, a limited increase in BMD was seen with no beneficial effect of MF over SF RT. BMD in lytic lesions was unchanged but slightly increased in mixed and blastic lesions.