New views on treatment of aromatase inhibitors induced arthralgia

Breast. 2010 Jun;19(3):249-50. doi: 10.1016/j.breast.2010.03.031. Epub 2010 Apr 24.


Background: Aromatase Inhibitor (AI) induced arthralgia is one of the most frequent side effects in breast cancer hormonal therapy, which may become severe in some cases affecting patients' quality of life. The purpose of this study is to investigate alternative treatment of arthralgia, as current treatment options may often prove to be inadequate.

Material-methods: According to Morales et al, AI-associated arthralgia syndrome is characterized by tenosynovial changes in MRI, including fluid in tendon sheaths and joints. Initially, furosemide (20 mg per two days) was prescribed by our team, in order to minimize peripheral edema in women receiving aromatase inhibitors. The data collected demonstrated that 16 out of 18 patients had benefited from the addition of a diuretic agent in their adjuvant AI treatment as far as AI induced arthralgia is concerned as well. In this retrospective study, data from 288 women receiving an AI for non-metastatic breast cancer are analyzed in order to define whether chronic diuretic therapy could affect the impact of arthralgia on those patients.

Results: 42/288 Patients were receiving chronic diuretic therapy for heart disease or hypertension (Group A), while 246/288 patients had never received any diuretic medication (Group B). At 43.03 months of mean follow up, in Group A arthralgia was developed in 3/42 patients (6.97%) as opposed to 39/246 patients in Group B (15.85%) -p value: 0.01. Other parameters that could affect the impact of arthralgia in both Groups are also analyzed and taken under consideration.

Conclusion: Despite the low number of patients and the retrospective nature of the study, there was a clear trend to a lower incidence of arthralgia in patients receiving chronic diuretic therapy. We believe that based on this hypothesis generating study further research should be done to assess the value of diuretic agents in the treatment of AI-associated arthralgia.

Publication types

  • Letter

MeSH terms

  • Aromatase Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Arthralgia / chemically induced*
  • Arthralgia / prevention & control*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Diuretics / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Furosemide / therapeutic use*
  • Humans


  • Aromatase Inhibitors
  • Diuretics
  • Furosemide