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Karmela Kim Chan, MD, on Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor Arthritis and Cancer

MedPage Today features a Q&A with HSS rheumatologist Karmela Kim Chan, MD, who discussed her study published ACR Open Rheumatology showing high disease activity for arthritis associated with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) could indicate faster rates of cancer progression.

Dr. Chan explained the study objective, key findings and what clinicians should be aware of, and areas warranting further research.

“We wanted to look at these patients and see if there was anything remarkable about their characteristics -- their arthritis or the medications or the amount of steroid that we use -- that could tell us something about the cancer progression,” said Dr. Chan. “What we found in this study is that the CDAI [Clinical Disease Activity Index] might be an indicator of cancer progression. The worse patients are doing with regard to their joints, the more likely their cancer was to progress,” she noted. “Not necessarily in light of these results, but just in general I think if patients complain of joint pain, the threshold to send them to rheumatology should be low, because we can properly assess whether the condition is inflammatory as opposed to mechanical and help with treatment and monitoring,” she continued. “We have to remember that there are plenty of caveats here. This was a small study, small number of patients, with many different cancers and immunotherapy regimens represented. And the therapeutic strategies we used to treat the arthritis were not protocolized. So, this is by no means a study on which to base bold pronouncements," concluded Dr. Chan. 

Read the full article at MedPagetoday.com.