Norah Lynn Henry, M.D., Ph.D.

Supported by Bristol-Myers Squibb through the Robin Roberts Cancer Thrivership Fund

Aromatase inhibitors (AIs) are important drugs for treating breast cancer. These drugs lower estrogen levels and reduce the chance that a woman will die from cancer. However, about one in five patients stops taking the drug early because of aggravating muscle and joint pain. Stopping the drug too soon can increase her risk of her cancer coming back. We do not know why women develop this pain, but it might be due to very low estrogen levels. We also do not know how to prevent the pain. Oxylipins are fat particles in the body that can increase or decrease pain. We believe that when a woman is treated with medicine that lowers her estrogen levels, that leads to more fats that cause pain. By also taking omega-3 pills, we believe that women instead will have more fats that decrease pain. This will allow her to continue to take the AI medication. To address this question, women who are starting to take an AI will also take either omega-3 pills or olive oil pills. We will ask if they develop pain and also check the levels of fats in their blood.  Through this study we will find out if omega-3 pills prevent this side effect, and will learn more about how the AI medicine causes the pain. Knowing more about why women get this bothersome pain and how to prevent it will allow doctors to better treat patients and will allow more women to continue taking this life saving medication.  

Location: University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center - Michigan
Proposal: Inflammatory lipid mediators and aromatase inhibitor-associated arthralgias in breast cancer
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