Ageing perceptions and non-adherence to aromatase inhibitors among breast cancer survivors.
ABSTRACT: PURPOSE:Aromatase inhibitors (AIs) are a potentially life-saving treatment for breast cancer survivors, yet poor adherence to treatment is a prevalent problem. A common adverse effect of AI treatment is arthralgia, which is identified by survivors as a major reason for treatment discontinuation. Women who experience arthralgia on AIs often report feeling they have aged rapidly while on the treatment. In the present study, we examined whether arthralgia-associated ageing perceptions predicted non-adherence. PATIENTS AND METHODS:We conducted a prospective cohort study among women with stage I-III breast cancer, who were on an AI and completed the Penn Arthralgia Aging Scale within 2 years of AI initiation. Adherence data were abstracted from medical charts by trained raters. Cox proportional hazard analysis was used to determine the relationship between ageing perceptions and time to non-adherence. All analyses included adjustments for joint pain severity. RESULTS:Among 509 participants, 144 (28.3%) were non-adherent. As hypothesised, women with high levels of ageing perceptions were at greater risk of non-adherence than women with low levels of ageing perceptions (adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 1.71; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.10-2.67; p = .02). High levels of depressive symptoms were also uniquely associated with increased risk of non-adherence (adjusted HR, 1.63; 95% CI, 1.03-2.59; p = .04). CONCLUSION:Perceptions of ageing related to arthralgia and depressive symptoms predicted non-adherence to AIs. These findings suggest that interventions that address negative beliefs about ageing due to AI-related arthralgia and depressive mood can potentially improve rates of adherence to AIs.
Project description:In order to reduce the risk of recurrence, adjuvant treatment with an aromatase inhibitor (AI) is recommended for postmenopausal women following surgery for hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. AIs are associated with improved disease-free survival compared with tamoxifen. The adverse events associated with AIs resemble those of menopause, such as bone density loss and musculoskeletal symptoms.We examine the case of a postmenopausal woman who was prescribed anastrozole, a nonsteroidal AI, as adjuvant therapy following surgery for estrogen and progesterone receptor-positive (ER and PgR+) breast cancer.A 58-year-old postmenopausal woman diagnosed with ER and PgR+ breast cancer was prescribed anastrozole as adjuvant therapy following a right-inferior quadrantectomy. After experiencing joint pain and stiffness, she was prescribed paracetamol and a topical nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug. She was also counseled on nonpharmacological interventions. However, she continued to experience symptoms, and reported that she was not taking anastrozole regularly.The case study patient ultimately found relief by switching to letrozole, another aromatase inhibitor. This approach is supported by recent studies examining the benefits of switching strategies between aromatase inhibitors in order to relieve symptoms of arthralgia/myalgia.Both adherence and strategies for managing aromatase inhibitor-associated arthralgia are key to deriving maximal clinical benefit from AI therapy. Switching from one aromatase inhibitor to another may provide a viable option in managing adverse events and enhancing adherence to medication.
Project description:PURPOSE:Although aromatase inhibitors (AIs) prolong survival in post-menopausal breast cancer (BC) patients, AI-associated arthralgia can lead to discontinuation. Obese patients have higher rates of AI arthralgia than non-obese patients, but treatment options are limited. Omega-3 fatty acid (O3-FA) treatment for AI arthralgia has produced mixed results. METHODS:We performed an exploratory analysis of SWOG S0927, a multicenter randomized placebo-controlled trial of O3-FA use for AI arthralgia. Post-menopausal women with stage I-III BC taking an AI were randomized to 24 weeks of O3-FAs or placebo. Brief Pain Inventory (BPI) questionnaires and fasting serum were collected at baseline, 12, and 24 weeks. The BPI assessment included worst pain, average pain, and pain interference scores (range 0-10). RESULTS:Among the 249 participants, 139 had BMI?<?30 kg/m2 (56%) and 110 had BMI???30 kg/m2 (44%). Among obese patients, O3-FA use was associated with significantly lower BPI worst pain scores at 24 weeks compared with placebo (4.36 vs. 5.70, p?=?0.02), whereas among non-obese patients, there was no significant difference in scores between treatment arms (5.27 vs. 4.58, p?=?0.28; interaction p?=?0.05). Similarly, O3-FA use was associated with lower BPI average pain and pain interference scores at 24 weeks compared with placebo among obese patients, but no significant difference between treatment arms in non-obese patients (interaction p?=?0.005 and p?=?0.01, respectively). CONCLUSIONS:In obese BC patients, O3-FA use was associated with significantly reduced AI arthralgia compared to placebo.
Project description:Aromatase inhibitors (AIs) are routinely used in the adjuvant treatment of women with hormone receptor-positive early breast cancer. Patients who receive AIs have an increased risk of bone loss and arthralgia compared with those treated with tamoxifen. In addition to the effects of AIs, the population of women with early breast cancer has a high prevalence of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) insufficiency. In our experience 88% of patients had concentrations lower than 30 ng/ml. Vitamin D supplementation should be adapted to the baseline concentration. Another relevant finding in our research program was the close relationship between 25(OH)D levels and intensity of AI-related arthralgia (AIrA). A target concentration of 40 ng/ml 25(OH)D may prevent development of AIrA. We also demonstrate that AIrA is genetically determined: single nucleotide polymorphisms located in genes encoding key factors for the metabolism of estrogens and vitamin D (CYP17A1, VDR, and CYP27B1) are associated with self-reported arthralgia during AI therapy. We recommend establishing an individualized protocol of bone-health surveillance based on baseline and evolutionary clinical variables.
Project description:Aromatase inhibitors (AIs) are the treatment of choice for the majority of postmenopausal women with estrogen receptor (ER) positive breast cancers in early and advanced stage settings. One of most frequent side effects of AIs is bone loss that is of sufficient magnitude to increase risk of osteoporotic fractures. Osteoporosis is primarily a complex genetic disease with few modifiable risk factors. As the lifespan increases, and breast mortality decreases, more women with breast cancer will be at risk of osteoporotic fractures, or falls that result in fractures. The screening, prevention, and treatment of osteoporosis do not differ in women with or without breast cancer. Rather, breast cancer treatments, including AIs, chemotherapy-induced ovarian failure, and gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists, all decrease estrogen, which causes net bone resorption, leading some women to experience fracture. Occurring in about fifty-percent of women, AI-induced arthralgia is one of the most common side effects, and causes of nonadherence and discontinuation. Registry studies show that nonadherence and discontinuation may contribute to higher breast cancer mortality. Thus, understanding the mechanisms, risk factors, and interventions to mitigate symptoms of AI-induced arthralgia is a high priority.
Project description:Arthralgia occurs in up to 50% of breast cancer survivors treated with aromatase inhibitors (AIs) and is the most common reason for poor AI adherence. We conducted, in 121 breast cancer survivors receiving an AI and reporting arthralgia, a yearlong randomized trial of the impact of exercise versus usual care on arthralgia severity.Eligibility criteria included receiving an AI for at least 6 months, reporting ? 3 of 10 for worst joint pain on the Brief Pain Inventory (BPI), and reporting < 90 minutes per week of aerobic exercise and no strength training. Participants were randomly assigned to exercise (150 minutes per week of aerobic exercise and supervised strength training twice per week) or usual care. The BPI, Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis (WOMAC) index, and Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) questionnaire were completed at baseline and at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months. Intervention effects were evaluated using mixed-model repeated measures analysis, with change at 12 months as the primary end point.Over 12 months, women randomly assigned to exercise (n = 61) attended 70% (± standard deviation [SD], 28%) of resistance training sessions and increased their exercise by 159 (± SD, 136) minutes per week. Worst joint pain scores decreased by 1.6 points (29%) at 12 months among women randomly assigned to exercise versus a 0.2-point increase (3%) among those receiving usual care (n = 60; P < .001). Pain severity and interference, as well as DASH and WOMAC pain scores, also decreased significantly at 12 months in women randomly assigned to exercise, compared with increases for those receiving usual care (all P < .001).Exercise led to improvement in AI-induced arthralgia in previously inactive breast cancer survivors.
Project description:Aromatase inhibitors (AIs) have radically changed the prognosis of hormone receptor positive breast cancer (BC) in post-menopausal women, and are a mainstay of the adjuvant therapy for BC after surgery in place of, or following, Tamoxifen. However, AIs aren't side effect-free; frequent adverse events involve the musculoskeletal system, in the form of bone loss, AI-associated arthralgia (AIA) syndrome and autoimmune rheumatic diseases. In this narrative review, we reported the main clinical features of these three detrimental conditions, their influence on therapy adherence, the possible underlying molecular mechanisms and the available pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments. The best-known form is the AIs-induced osteoporosis, whose molecular pathway and therapeutic possibilities were extensively investigated in the last decade. AIA syndrome is a high prevalent joint pain disorder which often determines a premature discontinuation of the therapy. Several points still need to be clarified, as a universally accepted diagnostic definition, the pathogenetic mechanisms and satisfactory management strategies. The association of AIs therapy with autoimmune diseases is of the utmost interest. The related literature has been recently expanded, but many issues remain to be explored, the first being the molecular mechanisms.
Project description:Aromatase inhibitors (AIs) are the standard of care for postmenopausal women with estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. Here, we performed a meta-analysis to evaluate the occurrence of menopausal symptoms in breast cancer patients receiving the AI therapy. Patients treated with AIs had an increased risk of all-grade arthralgia (1.63 [95% CI: 1.34-1.98]) and insomnia (1.24 [95% CI: 1.14-1.34]). The overall incidence of hot flashes, fatigue, arthralgia, sweating, and insomnia in patients receiving AIs was 30.47% (95% CI: 25.51%-35.93%), 17.16% (95% CI: 14%-20.85%), 17.91% (95% CI: 11.29%-27.22%), 14.64% (95% CI: 11.46%-18.52%), and 16.52% (95% CI: 12.45%-21.6 %), respectively. Both arthralgia (RR = 0.34, 95% CI: 0.16-0.75) and sweating (RR = 11.02, 95% CI: 4.11-29.57) differed between patients with early- and advanced-stage breast cancer. Our findings indicates that AIs are associated with a significant risk of developing arthralgia and insomnia in breast cancer patients. Effective early detection and management of menopausal symptoms would likely lead to safer use of AIs in breast cancer patients.
Project description:Aromatase inhibitors (AIs) substantially reduce breast cancer mortality in clinical trials, but high rates of nonadherence to these long-term oral therapies have reduced their impact outside of trials. We examined the association of generic AI availability with AI adherence among a large national breast cancer cohort.Using a quasi-experimental prepost design, we examined the effect of generic AI introductions (7/2010 and 4/2011) on adherence among a national cohort of women with incident breast cancer in 2006 and 2007 who were enrolled in the Medicare D pharmaceutical coverage program. Medicare D claims were used to calculate AI adherence, defined as a medication possession ratio of 80% or more of eligible days, over 36 months. Multivariable logistic regression models estimated with generalized estimating equations were applied to longitudinal adherence data to control for possible confounders, including receipt of a Medicare D low-income subsidy, and to account for repeated measures. All statistical tests were two-sided.Sixteen thousand four hundred sixty-two Medicare D enrollees were eligible. Adherence declined throughout the study. However, among women without a subsidy, the median quarterly out-of-pocket cost of anastrozole fell from $183 in the fourth quarter of 2009 to $15 in 2011, and declines in adherence were attenuated with generic AI introductions. Regression-adjusted adherence probabilities were estimated to be 5.4% higher after generic anastrozole was introduced in 2010 and 11% higher after generic letrozole/exemestane was introduced in 2011. Subsidy recipients had higher adherence rates throughout the study.The introduction of generic medications attenuated the decline in adherence to AIs over three years of treatment among breast cancer survivors not receiving low-income subsidies for Medicare D coverage.
Project description:PURPOSE:For postmenopausal women with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer, long-term use of aromatase inhibitors (AIs) significantly reduces the risk of cancer recurrence and improves survival. Still, many patients are nonadherent due to adverse side effects. We conducted a pilot randomized controlled trial to test the use of a web-based application (app) designed with and without weekly reminders for patients to report real-time symptoms and AI use outside of clinic visits with built-in alerts to patients' oncology providers. Our goal was to improve symptom burden and medication adherence. METHODS:Forty-four women with early-stage breast cancer and a new AI prescription were randomized to either an App+Reminder (weekly reminders to use app) or an App (no reminders) group. Pre- and post-assessment data were collected from all participants. RESULTS:Participants in the App+Reminder group had higher weekly app usage rate (74 vs. 38%, p?<?0.05) during the intervention and reported higher AI adherence at 8 weeks (100 vs. 72%, p?<?0.05). Symptom burden increase was higher for the App group compared to the App+Reminder group but did not reach statistical significance. CONCLUSIONS:Weekly reminders to use a web-based app to report AI adherence and treatment-related symptoms demonstrated feasibility and improved short-term AI adherence, which may reduce symptom burden for women with breast cancer and a new AI prescription. IMPLICATIONS FOR CANCER SURVIVORS:If short-term gains in adherence persist, this low-cost intervention could improve survival outcomes for women with breast cancer. A larger, long-term study should examine if AI adherence and symptom burden improvements persist for a 5-year treatment period.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Arthralgia is a common and debilitating toxicity of aromatase inhibitors (AI) that leads to premature drug discontinuation. We sought to evaluate the clinical and genetic risk factors associated with AI-associated arthralgia (AIAA). METHODS:We performed a cross-sectional study among postmenopausal women with stage 0-III breast cancer who were prescribed a third-generation AI for adjuvant therapy. The primary outcome was patient-reported AIAA occurrence. We extracted and assayed germline DNA for single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of genes implicated in estrogen and inflammation pathways. Multivariable logistic regression models examined the association between demographic, clinical, and genetic factors and AIAA. Analyses were restricted to White participants. RESULTS:Among 1049 White participants, 543 (52%) reported AIAA. In multivariable analyses, women who had a college education [Adjusted Odds Ratio (AOR) 1.49, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 1.00-2.20], had a more recent transition into menopause (<10 years) (5-10 years AOR 1.55, 95% CI 1.09-2.22; <5 years AOR 1.78, 95% CI 1.18-2.67), were within one year of starting AIs (AOR 1.61, 95% CI 1.08-2.40), and those who received chemotherapy (AOR 1.38, 95% CI 1.02-1.88) were significantly more likely to report AIAA. Additionally, SNP rs11648233 (HSD17B2) was significantly associated with higher odds of AIAA (AOR 2.21, 95% CI 1.55-3.16). CONCLUSIONS:Time since menopause and start of AIs, prior chemotherapy, and SNP rs11648233 within the HSD17B2 gene in the estrogen pathway were significantly associated with patient-reported AIAA. These findings suggest that clinical and genetic factors involved in estrogen withdrawal increase the risk of AIAA in postmenopausal breast cancer survivors.