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Med Oncol. 2014 Sep;31(9):128. doi: 10.1007/s12032-014-0128-z. Epub 2014 Jul 24.

Aromatase inhibitors associated musculoskeletal disorders and bone fractures in postmenopausal breast cancer patients: a result from Chinese population.

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  • 1Breast Surgery Division, The First Affiliated Hospital with Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China.


As the prognosis of early breast cancer patients improves, the long-term safety of aromatase inhibitors (AIs) is increasingly important. In the present study, we retrospectively investigated the incidences of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and bone fractures in a cohort of Chinese postmenopausal patients with breast cancer. Data of postmenopausal patients with breast cancer were collected. Among which, 70 patients received AIs therapy (median follow-up of 32.5 months), 52 patients received tamoxifen (TAM), and 89 patients received no endocrine therapy (NE). Baseline characteristics, incidence of MSDs and bone fractures were analyzed and compared. When compared with NE group (40.4 %, 36/89), more patients in AIs group developed MSDs (72.9 %, 51/70, adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 3.30, 95 % confidence interval (CI) = 1.59-6.88, P = 0.001). But no difference was found between TAM group (36.5 %, 19/52, AOR = 0.70, 95 % CI = 0.32-1.52, P = 0.372) and NE group. About 39.7 months after initial AIs therapy, nine patients in AI group developed bone fractures in different sites, and the bone fracture rate was significantly increased (12.9 %, 9/70, adjusted hazard ratio (AHR) = 20.08, 95 % CI = 1.72-234.08, P = 0.017) in comparison with NE group (1.1 %, 1/89). Moreover, the bone fracture rate of TAM group was not different from NE group (1.9 %, 1/52, AHR = 2.64, 95 % CI = 0.14-48.73, P = 0.513). AIs therapy may induce increased rates of MSDs and bone fractures in Chinese population of postmenopausal breast cancer patients, whereas TAM therapy did not help reduce the incidences of MSDs and bone fractures.

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