Aromatase inhibitors increase side effects in women undergoing breast cancer therapy

October 31, 2015

Questionnaires about symptoms were completed prior to treatment initiation by women with breast cancer and at the start of the study for the healthy women. Women were followed for six months and completed additional questionnaires at three months and at the completion of the study.

Women taking aromatase inhibitors were five times more likely to report having hot flashes, breast sensitivity and chest pain than healthy women. In addition, they were four times more likely to report night sweats, cold sweats and hair loss and about three times more likely to report leg cramps, weight gain, sleep disturbance, tendency to take naps and forgetfulness. Other increased symptoms included intestinal gas, cough, depression, interrupted sleep and irritability.

"We know that aromatase inhibitors are effective in treating breast cancer," Gallicchio said. "Knowing the side effects of aromatase inhibitor treatment and how to treat them is critical for keeping women on their aromatase inhibitor treatment and improving their chances of surviving and living cancer free."

SOURCE American Association for Cancer Research