New Discoveries and Honors in Cancer Research

Read the latest cancer research and recognition from the members of the Damon Runyon scientific circle.
December 9, 2016
Depression Drug Provides Pain Relief for Breast Cancer Patients

N. Lynn Henry, MD, PhD (Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator ’10-’15) of Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, presented a study demonstrating that a drug typically used to treat depression and anxiety (duloxetine/Cymbalta) can provide significant reductions in joint pain for women with early stage breast cancer. Many postmenopausal women are treated with aromatase inhibitors (AIs) that stop the production of estrogen and essentially starve hormone receptor-positive breast cancer cells. As many as 50% of these women experience joint pain and stiffness as a side effect of AI therapy, and about 20% experience significant pain. Duloxetine may enable them to comfortably stay on their cancer treatment for a longer time, in order to prevent disease progression. These results were presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.