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AIMS: Aromatase inhibitors are now a standard of care in the management of hormone-responsive early breast cancer in postmenopausal women. The troublesome side-effect of arthralgia remains a distinct clinical problem, with limited data on its aetiology and management. The aim of this questionnaire study was to evaluate the opinion of UK breast cancer clinicians on the importance of this treatment side effect. MATERIALS AND METHODS: In 2009, a questionnaire was sent to 772 breast surgeons and oncologists who manage breast cancer within the UK. The questionnaire evaluated the importance, investigation, management and the need for guidelines for aromatase inhibitor-induced arthralgia (AIA). RESULTS: Four hundred and sixteen (54%) returned questionnaires were suitable for analysis. By specialty, 234 (56%) were completed by breast surgeons, 134 (32%) by clinical oncologists, 45 (11%) by medical oncologists and one by a general surgeon. Three hundred and eighty-three (92%) specialists graded the importance of AIA as either very important or important; 211 (51%) did not know the aetiology of AIA; 280 (68%) did not perform bloods; 254 (61%) did not request radiology and 251 (60%) felt management was the responsibility of the oncologists. Three hundred and forty-nine (84%) considered that their practice would benefit from national guidelines. CONCLUSION: This questionnaire has highlighted that AIA is a major patient concern. Further research, educational initiatives and guidance are needed to improve the management of this treatment complication.

Original publication




Journal article


Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol)

Publication Date





674 - 680


Aromatase Inhibitors, Arthralgia, Breast Neoplasms, Chemotherapy, Adjuvant, Female, Humans, Practice Guidelines as Topic, Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic, Surveys and Questionnaires, United Kingdom