Navigation Links
13 percent of women stop taking breast cancer drug because of side effects, U-M study finds

ANN ARBOR, Mich. More than 10 percent of women with breast cancer stopped taking a commonly prescribed drug because of joint and muscle pain, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The women in the study were taking aromatase inhibitors, a type of drug designed to block the production of estrogen, which fuels some breast cancers. The treatment is generally given after surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy to prevent the cancer from returning. Its typically prescribed as one pill each day for five years. Use of these drugs has increased because they have been shown to be more effective than tamoxifen, the previous standard of care.

We know 25 percent to 30 percent of women taking aromatase inhibitors have aches and pains. What was surprising here was the number of people who actually discontinued the drugs because of the side effects. Up to 15 percent of patients in previously reported studies stopped taking aromatase inhibitors for a variety of reasons, but in our study, we had 13 percent drop out just because of musculoskeletal problems, says N. Lynn Henry, M.D., Ph.D., lecturer in internal medicine at the U-M Medical School.

Henry will present the findings Sept. 8 in San Francisco at the 2007 Breast Cancer Symposium, a scientific meeting sponsored by five leading cancer care societies.

The study looked at the first 100 women enrolled in a trial to study how genetics play a role in the way individuals metabolize drugs and experience side effects. The women in this analysis were all post-menopausal following treatment for hormone-responsive breast cancer. They were assigned to take one of two aromatase inhibitors, exemestane or letrozole, and were followed for at least six months.

Study participants completed questionnaires about their health and side effects. If their reported joint and muscle concerns scored above a certain threshold on these questionnaires, the women were referred to a rheumatologist. Referrals were based on worsened pain or a change in function from the start of the study that resulted in more difficulty performing tasks such as rising from a chair, climbing out of a car or opening a jar.

In women who developed symptoms while taking the medication, the symptoms typically came on soon after starting treatment, at a median just under two months. The specific symptoms varied among the study participants, including tendonitis in the shoulder or wrist, inflammation in the knees or arthritis-type symptoms in the hands or hips. Some women reported joint pain while others had muscle pain.

The researchers are looking at interventions to determine how to manage the musculoskeletal side effects of these drugs. Symptoms almost always improve after stopping the drug. Researchers are trying to determine if switching to a different aromatase inhibitor will prevent the side effects in women who are affected, and theyre testing interventions to manage the side effects. Another option is to switch from an aromatase inhibitor to tamoxifen, which also blocks estrogen but which is not known to cause as much joint and muscle pain.

Large randomized studies have shown aromatase inhibitors work better than tamoxifen in post-menopausal women to prevent breast cancer from recurring. But, Henry points out, given the risks and side effects an individual woman might face, tamoxifen might be the better choice for some women.

Tamoxifen has been around 20-30 years and has a long track record. We know about its benefits and its risks. Aromatase inhibitors are new, and we dont have as much experience with them. We have to see in the long term which one ends up being better, Henry says.

The goal of the larger study, which is led by the Consortium on Breast Cancer Pharmacogenomics, is to determine if breast cancer treatment can be personalized based on an individual womans genetic make-up. At this point, the sample size is not large enough to determine any genetic markers. Eventually, the researchers hope to enroll 500 women in the study. Finding a marker that predisposes a woman to more severe side effects could help doctors make personalized treatment decisions.


Contact: Nicole Fawcett
University of Michigan Health System

Related medicine news :

1. Pharmacia may take 51.5 percent Abbott stake
2. 45 Percent Of Errors In Cancer Diagnosis Harm The Patient
3. Zyflamend inhibits 78 percent of prostate cancer cells
4. Births Out Of Wedlock Increased To 42 Percent in 2004 in the UK
5. Community Dentists To Receive 10 Percent Salary Boost
6. NHS Forced to Borrow Money at Rates of 10 percent
7. Almost 30 Percent Dentists Refuse To Sign NHS Contracts
8. Polyunsaturated Fats And Vitamin E Cut MND Risk By 60 Percent
9. More Than 50 Percent Indians Aged Over 40 Have Diabetes, High Blood Pressure
10. Around 20 Percent Take-Out Foods Are Unhygienic
11. 47 Percent Children Suffer from Malnutrition: Survey
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... , ... On Friday, June 10, Van Mitchell, Secretary of the Maryland Department ... in recognition of their exemplary accomplishments in worksite health promotion. , The Wellness at ... Wellness Symposium at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum Heights. iHire was one of 42 ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... A recent article published June ... with. The article goes on to state that individuals are now more comfortable seeking ... common operations such as calf and cheek reduction. The Los Angeles area medical group, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Michigan (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... June ... about the dangers associated with chronic pain and the benefits of holistic treatments, ... individuals who are suffering with Sickle Cell Disease. , Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... The Pulmonary ... Dallas that it will receive two significant new grants to support its work ... marked its 25th anniversary by recognizing patients, medical professionals and scientists for their ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... now offering micro-osteoperforation for accelerated orthodontic treatment. Dr. Cheng has extensive experience with ... Damon brackets , AcceleDent, and accelerated osteogenic orthodontics. , Micro-osteoperforation is a ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Any dentist who has ... of the current process. Many of them do not even ... technical difficulties and high laboratory costs involved. And those who ... it at such a high cost that the majority of ... Dr. Parsa Zadeh , founder of Dental Evolutions ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Ill. , June 23, 2016  In a startling report ... are failing their residents by lacking a comprehensive, proven plan to ... a definitive ranking of how states are tackling the worst ... to only four states – Kentucky , ... Vermont . Of the 28 failing states, three ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Research and Markets has ... Market Analysis 2016 - Forecast to 2022" report to ... report contains up to date financial data derived from varied ... major trends with potential impact on the market during the ... segmentation which comprises of sub markets, regional and country level ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: