Effects of Arthritis Medication on

Patients Treated for Cancer

Finding the best treatment for inflammatory arthritis on cancer patients.

The Problem

Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) are new highly effective cancer medications that activate the immune system to fight cancer. However, they often cause the immune system to react against one’s tissues, which limits their use. An example is causing new inflammatory arthritis which can be severe and significantly impact quality of life. How to treat these autoimmune reactions without compromising the effectiveness of the cancer treatment, is unknown.

The Solution

Studying whether an existing arthritis medication, called Adalimumab, can control inflammation in cancer patients treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors, without having a negative impact on the treatment of cancer.

What the Study will do

In this study, scientists will conduct a clinical trial testing whether using a medication called Adalimumab for a short time is effective at stopping or “turning off” arthritis caused by immune checkpoint inhibitors, thus preventing long-term joint inflammation, and allowing ongoing cancer treatment.

The Research Study

The study will be conducted at different sites across Canada that are part of the CanRIO network, with patients who developed inflammatory arthritis after receiving an immune checkpoint inhibitor for their cancer. People will be randomly assigned to receive either usual care or Adalimumab for 3 months. All patient participants will be followed for at least 24 weeks. The study will compare, in the two treatment groups, whether the arthritis goes away or persists, how much prednisone is needed to control arthritis symptoms, and the cancer outcomes.

The results of this study will hopefully give insight into the optimal way of providing early treatment to people with inflammatory arthritis as a side-effect of immune checkpoint inhibitors. As these new very effective medications are used more and more in different cancer types, it is important to understand how to manage and prevent toxicities, particularly those that significantly impact quality of life, without negatively impacting cancer treatment outcomes.

Research Scientists

Shahin Jamal

Shahin Jamal

Clinician Investigator, MD, FRCPC, MSc

Dr. Shahin Jamal completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Therapy at McGill University. She obtained her Doctor of Medicine from the University of British Columbia in 1999, completed her Internal Medicine residency training at Queens University in 2002 and Rheumatology training at the University of Toronto in 2004. She went on to obtain her Master’s Degree in Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Toronto in 2007. Her thesis work focused on the delays in treatment for patients with rheumatoid arthritis and barriers to care. She completed the Clinical Investigator Program with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in 2007.

Marie Hudson

Marie Hudson

Research Scientist, Rheumatology MD, MPH, FRCPC

Dr. Marie Hudson received her MD from McGill University, where she completed her residency training in internal medicine and rheumatology. She subsequently obtained a Master’s degree in Public Health from Columbia University in New York, and then returned to McGill to pursue a post-doctoral fellowship in epidemiology. Dr. Hudson is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and has received the prestigious New Investigator Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

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