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Arthralgia in patients with ovarian cancer treated with bevacizumab and chemotherapy


Background Chemotherapy with carboplatin, paclitaxel, and bevacizumab is the standard therapy for patients with advanced stage ovarian cancer wild-type BRCA after primary surgery. The most frequent side effects of bevacizumab in this setting are hypertension, thrombosis, hemorrhage, and proteinuria, while arthralgia has been poorly described.

Objective To examine the incidence, duration, and reversibility of arthralgia.

Patients and methods A retrospective analysis was performed to describe the occurrence and outcome of arthralgia in 114 patients with advanced ovarian cancer, given first-line treatment with a combination of carboplatin, paclitaxel, and bevacizumab. Statistical analysis was performed to investigate a possible prognostic role of arthralgia, with progression-free survival as endpoint.

Results 47 of 114 patients (41%) developed arthralgia during therapy. All patients had grade 1 or grade 2 arthralgia. Toxicity persisted after the end of bevacizumab in 17/47 patients (36%). Median progression-free survival for patients without arthralgia was 18 months (95% CI 14 to 24) compared with 29 months (95% CI 21 to not reached) for patients experiencing arthralgia (p=0.03). In order to avoid possible biases related to treatment duration, a multivariable Cox proportional hazards model including toxicity as a time dependent variable and age, stage, and residual disease after primary surgery was performed. In this model no variable showed a statistically significant association with progression-free survival.

Conclusion A high incidence of arthralgia (41%) was found and although rogression-free survival was worse for those patients who developed arthralgia, this was not maintained on multivariate analysis. Guidelines for treatment of this adverse event are needed.

  • ovarian cancer
  • quality of life (PRO)/palliative care

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