Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study helps eliminate causes for joint pain linked to commonly used breast cancer drugs

Date:
November 15, 2011
Source:
Georgetown University Medical Center
Summary:
Researchers exploring why some women who take a common breast cancer drug develop serious joint pain have eliminated two possible causes: Inflammatory arthritis and autoimmune disease. Because of these findings, researchers say women should be encouraged to continue taking the medication to gain its full benefit.

Researchers exploring why some women who take a common breast cancer drug develop serious joint pain have eliminated two possible causes: inflammatory arthritis and autoimmune disease. Because of these findings, the Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) researchers say women should be encouraged to continue taking the medication to gain its full benefit.

Related Articles


The study is published online November 11 in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment. Preliminary findings were presented in 2010 at the 74th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Rheumatology.

For many post-menopausal women with breast cancer promoted by the hormone estrogen, aromatase inhibitors (AI) 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 many of them to stop early out of concern that the pain signals a more serious condition.

"It's not clear why joint symptoms occur with AI use, but we wondered if it could be related to inflammation or an autoimmune disease," says rheumatologist Victoria K Shanmugam, MBBS, MRCP, assistant professor of medicine at GUMC, and the study's lead author. "Our research ruled out both."

Forty-eight postmenopausal women with state I, II or III breast cancer treated at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center were invited to take part in the study. All had hand pain and no known autoimmune disease. Of them, 25 women were taking AIs; 23 women were not taking AIs.

Subjects were evaluated after abstaining from non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for 48 hours. Signs of inflammation from arthritis would reappear in that time frame, the researchers reasoned. All the women completed a health assessment questionnaire. The rheumatologist conducted a personal history and physical examination with each patient. 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 found that several patients in the control arm had a similar constellation of symptoms to those receiving AIs, but our team did not find any conclusive evidence that women taking AIs were more likely to have inflammatory arthritis or an autoimmune disease," Shanmugam says.

An autoimmune disease was discovered in four of the 48 women -- two in each group -- that had previously been undiagnosed. The cases were equally distributed among cases and controls.

"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.

"Although our study helps to rule out inflammatory arthritis or autoimmune disease as cause for joint pain associated with AIs, we still do not know why these women have musculoskeletal symptoms. Since the syndrome doesn't appear to be related to inflammatory arthritis or autoimmune disease, women should be encouraged to stay on their medication so they can gain the full benefit from it."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Georgetown University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Georgetown University Medical Center. "Study helps eliminate causes for joint pain linked to commonly used breast cancer drugs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 November 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111111095515.htm>.
Georgetown University Medical Center. (2011, November 15). Study helps eliminate causes for joint pain linked to commonly used breast cancer drugs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111111095515.htm
Georgetown University Medical Center. "Study helps eliminate causes for joint pain linked to commonly used breast cancer drugs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111111095515.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins