Alpelisib-induced hyperglycemia in older patients with breast Cancer: Qualitative findings

Kathryn Cook, Yahya Almodallal, Nichole Martin, Aminah Jatoi

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review


Background: The PIK3 kinase inhibitor, alpelisib, is a new breast cancer drug that can cause hyperglycemia, which can be especially severe in older patients. Yet, to our knowledge, no prior studies have sought to understand what older patients experience with alpelisib-induced hyperglycemia. Methods: The medical records of patients who were 65 years of age or older at the initiation of alpelisib and who developed hyperglycemia were reviewed in detail; direct verbiage on hyperglycemia were extracted and reviewed with rigorous qualitative methods. Results: Thirty-four women with a median age of 72 (range: 65, 85) are the subject of this report; twelve had been started on insulin, four had been hospitalized for hyperglycemia, and eleven appeared to stop alpelisib because of hyperglycemia. Qualitative analyses revealed two themes. The first was patient burden, which emanated from patients' having to self-monitor glucose levels (“Monitors blood glucose (BG) 4 times daily”); taking extra medications (“Taking Jardiance 10 mg daily and Pioglitazone 15 mg daily”); frequent changes in insulin dosing (“Her insulin… was then increased….”); and frequent changes in dosing of alpelisib to help control the hyperglycemia (“Instructed to hold Piqray ….”), and which also emanated from greater engagement with the healthcare system (“She was hospitalized for hyperglycemia”). The second theme focused on symptomatology and how patients suffered from hyperglycemia (“She presents to the emergency department with pre-syncope and vertigo”). Conclusion: Oncologists should assess older patients for the requisite abilities and resources for managing alpelisib-induced hyperglycemia in the event it occurs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1114-1117
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Geriatric Oncology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • Alpelisib
  • Breast cancer
  • Burden
  • Hyperglycemia
  • Insulin
  • Monitoring
  • Older patients

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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