Arthritis and Cancer Spread may be Linked

Breast cancer metastasis associated with arthritis

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Chris Galloway, M.D.

(RxWiki News) Inflammation is at the heart of so many conditions, including cancer. This is a well-established fact. A recent study shows that arthritis and breast cancer spread (metastasis) may also be linked.

An animal study revealed that arthritis increased breast cancer metastasis. Researchers found that so-called mast cells play a role in this and could be a target to reduce bone and lung metastasis.

"After cancer, be sure to have follow-up visits with your oncologist."

Lopamudra Das Roy, Ph.D., research assistant professor at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte, N.C., led the pre-clinical study and presented findings at the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2012, held March 31-April 4.

Previous studies have reported that chronic inflammation is associated with the growth of tumor cells, according to Das Roy. In his own prior research, breast cancer metastasis to the bone and lungs was increased in arthritic mice.

This study, involving two groups of mice, aimed to determine what was behind this association. The first group had arthritis and was then implanted with breast cancer cells. The second group had breast cancer and then induced to have arthritis.

Researchers discovered that mast cells (a type of immune cell) produced the inflammation that in turn influenced metastasis. Metastasis was reduced significantly when the mice were treated with a combination of a drug that blocked the mast cells and an arthritis medication, Celebrex (celecoxib).

Patrick D. Maguire, M.D., a radiation oncologist in North Carolina, told dailyRx, "The critical question, as with all promising studies involving lab rodents, will be whether the results & benefits translate for humans in further studies."

"With large cohort studies in humans pointing to possible significant anti-cancer effects of anti-inflammatories like aspirin, I am very hopeful about the fruitfulness of this research avenue," said Dr. Maguire who is author of When Cancer Hits Home: An Empowered Patient is the Best Weapon Against Cancer.

This research was funded by a Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program grant.

Until published in peer-reviewed journals, scientific findings presented at conferences are considered preliminary.

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Review Date: 
March 31, 2012
Last Updated:
April 1, 2012