Sulindac Improves Stiffness and Quality of Life in Women Taking Aromatase Inhibitors for Breast Cancer

Jessica A. Martinez, Betsy C. Wertheim, Denise J. Roe, Pavani Chalasani, Jules Cohen, Lea Baer, H. H.Sherry Chow, Alison T Stopeck, Patricia A. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Purpose: To examine benefit of sulindac for relief of musculoskeletal symptoms (MSS) in patients stable on aromatase inhibitors (AIs). Methods: Sulindac was evaluated at 150 mg twice daily for effects on MSS at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months in 50 postmenopausal women stable on AI therapy for a median of 12.5 months for hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. A separate, non-randomized group of 50 similar patients was observed for change in MSS over 12 months. MSS severity was assessed using the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis (WOMAC) Index and Brief Pain Inventory Short Form (BPI-SF). The Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy—General form (FACT-G) measured quality of life (QOL). Change in MSS and QOL across time was assessed in each group using linear mixed effects models. Results: Stiffness, not pain, was the main complaint at baseline. At 12 months, sulindac patients reported decreases (improvements) in mean (95% CI) Total WOMAC score [− 5.85 (− 9.73, − 1.96)] and WOMAC pain [− 5.40 (− 10.64, − 0.18)], Stiffness [− 9.53 (− 14.98, − 4.08)] and Physical Function [− 5.61 (− 9.62, − 1.60)] subscales, but not BPI-SF worst pain. Among sulindac patients with higher baseline MSS severity, 35% experienced ≥ 50% improvement in Total WOMAC and Total FACT-G scores [6.18 (2.08, 10.27); P = 0.003]. For the observation group, MSS and QOL did not improve over 12 months, even among those with higher baseline MSS severity. Conclusions: Sulindac may relieve MSS in AI patients, especially physical function and stiffness. Randomized controlled trials should further evaluate NSAIDs on AI-MSS and AI adherence. Trial registration number and date of registration: NCT01761877, December, 2012.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-122
Number of pages10
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • Aromatase inhibitor
  • Breast cancer
  • Musculoskeletal symptoms
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)
  • Sulindac
  • Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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