“This is a very exciting study. Acupuncture is another tool to address arthralgias associated with aromatase inhibitor therapy,” said Kathryn Ruddy, MD, of the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota. “I don’t think every patient with joint pain will opt for this for a variety of reasons, including cost, time, and other resources. But it is appealing for cancer patients not to have to take another medication to deal with joint pain/stiffness. If you have terrible pain, it is hard to continue taking aromatase inhibitors.”
Dr. Ruddy said the inclusion of sham acupuncture was a strength of the study, as was its relatively large size. ““It is exciting that this may improve patients’ ability to continue taking aromatase inhibitors,reducing rates of breast cancer recurrence,” she noted. ■
DISCLOSURE: Dr. Ruddy reported no conflicts of interest.
Although aromatase inhibitors are highly effective as adjuvant therapy in metastatic breast cancer and for prevention of breast cancer, the side effects can be difficult to tolerate and often lead to discontinuation of therapy. A phase III randomized trial has found that acupuncture may relieve...