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Medicineworld.org: Joint pain linked to breast cancer drug

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Joint pain linked to breast cancer drug




A newly released study suggests joint complaints attributed to aromatase inhibitors (AI), popular breast cancer drugs, are not linked to inflammatory arthritis or autoimmune disease. Because of that, scientists say women who were primarily concerned about the threat of arthritis should be encouraged to continue taking the medication. The findings of the study will be presented Tuesday, Nov. 9 at the 74th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Rheumatology in Atlanta, Georgia.

For a number of post-menopausal women with breast cancer promoted by the hormone estrogen, AIs can dramatically reduce the risk of their cancer coming back. Doctors say the AIs must be taken for five years to gain the full benefit, however the development of joint complaints in up to 35 percent of women forces a number of of them to stop early.



Joint pain linked to breast cancer drug

"It's not clear why these joint symptoms occur, but we wondered if they could be correlation to inflammation or an autoimmune disease," says Victoria K Shanmugam, MBBS, MRCP, assistant professor in the Division of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy at Georgetown University Medical Center, who led the study. "Our research ruled out both".

The case-controlled study included 25 postmenopausal patients with breast cancer with hand pain and no known autoimmune disease who were treated for their cancer at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. Another 23 participants who were not receiving the drugs enrolled as a control group.

Subjects were reviewed after abstaining from non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for 48 hours. Signs of inflammation from arthritis would reappear in that time frame, the scientists reasoned. They completed a health evaluation questionnaire. The rheumatologist completed a history and physical, and disease activity score. Various blood tests were conducted and x-rays and ultrasounds of all participants' hands were performed.

The rheumatologist and radiologist did not know which participants were taking AIs and which were not.

"We did find 4 of 48 women with autoimmune disease 2 in each group -- that had previously been undiagnosed, but the frequency was similar both in women receiving AIs and those who were not receiving AIs," Shanmugam says. "We observed that several patients in the control arm had a similar constellation of symptoms to those receiving AIs".

But Shanmugam and her team did not find any conclusive evidence from their tests of inflammatory arthritis in the women with breast cancer.

"Eventhough our study helps to rule out inflammatory arthritis or autoimmune disease, we do not know why women using AIs have these musculoskeletal symptoms. Still, knowing that the drugs are not promoting inflammatory arthritis appears to be beneficial to many women," she concludes.

"It would be prudent to refer those experiencing joint pain to a rheumatologist to rule out a previously undiagnosed autoimmune disease, and so that we can help address the symptoms," Shanmugam says. "Since the syndrome doesn't appear to be correlation to inflammatory arthritis, women should be encouraged to stay on their medicine so they can gain the full benefit from it."


Posted by: Janet    Source




Did you know?
A newly released study suggests joint complaints attributed to aromatase inhibitors (AI), popular breast cancer drugs, are not linked to inflammatory arthritis or autoimmune disease. Because of that, scientists say women who were primarily concerned about the threat of arthritis should be encouraged to continue taking the medication. The findings of the study will be presented Tuesday, Nov. 9 at the 74th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Rheumatology in Atlanta, Georgia.

Medicineworld.org: Joint pain linked to breast cancer drug

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