Inflammatory cytokines and aromatase inhibitor-associated musculoskeletal syndrome: A case-control study

N. L. Henry, D. Pchejetski, R. A'Hern, A. T. Nguyen, P. Charles, J. Waxman, L. Li, A. M. Storniolo, D. F. Hayes, D. A. Flockhart, V. Stearns, J. Stebbing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Background:The aromatase inhibitor (AI)-associated musculoskeletal syndrome (AIMSS) occurs in approximately 50% of AI-treated patients. Inflammatory mediators are associated with oestrogen signalling and may change with oestrogen depletion. We hypothesised that AIMSS may be associated with changes in circulating inflammatory markers.Methods:Patients with breast cancer were enroled in a trial of adjuvant AI therapy. Changes in pain and function during therapy were assessed prospectively. We selected 30 cases with AIMSS and 22 controls without AIMSS, matched for demographics and prior therapy. Serum samples collected at baseline and during treatment were assayed for multiple inflammatory cytokines and lipid mediators using multiplex assays.Results:Before AI therapy, mean serum concentrations of 6 of 36 assayed factors were statistically significantly lower in cases than controls (all P<0.003). No statistically significant changes during AI therapy relative to pre-treatment were observed between cases and controls for any of the inflammatory markers tested.Conclusion:AIMSS is probably not associated with a systemic inflammatory response. Pre-treatment cytokine levels may predict for development of AIMSS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-296
Number of pages6
JournalBritish journal of cancer
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 27 2010


  • aromatase inhibitor
  • arthralgia
  • breast cancer
  • cytokine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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