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Metal-On-Metal Hip Implants May Pose Cancer Risk, According to New British Study

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Metal-on-metal hip implants have made headlines in recent months over significantly high failure rates and the effects of shedding metal on the body. Emerging study results reveal these metal implants may be posing cancer risks, as well.

Initial study findings indicate that these devices could be increasing risks for cancer and genetic damage, said The Telegraph. One participant tested with abnormal bladder cell changes and the study, conducted in Great Britain, found that there were cell changes in the bladders of more than one in five patients who were monitored after being implanted with metal-on-metal hip devices.

The Sunday Telegraph reported that information about increased cancer risks followed its investigation revealing that regulators’ concerns over safety issues with about 30,000 devices are driving new guidance on the implants which are known to release metal shards when device elements rub against each other. As NewsInferno has long written, these tiny metal shards can release into the blood stream and tissues, causing swelling and bone and muscle damage, among other adverse effects.

The new research, said The Telegraph, revealed genetic damage in the bladders of 17 of 72 people, including cancer in three patients. The issue with DNA damage is important because DNA damage can lead to mutations, which can lead to cancer. Orthopedic consultants in Bristol conducted the study and plan to present their results next month at the annual British Hip Society conference, said The Telegraph.

The study was initiated following a warning issued by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to 40,000 Britons implanted with metal-on-metal devices. The MHRA warned patients to undergo yearly checks, including scans and blood tests, to rule out metal leakage from the devices, said The Telegraph. Now, noted NewsInferno, MHRA advisors feel the prior advice is not sufficient given concerns the devices could lead to “systemic toxicity” in the body.

One headline-making device, manufactured by DePuy Orthopaedics, a unit of Johnson & Johnson, was recalled worldwide in 2010 over high failure. The recall of DePuy’s ASR Hip Resurfacing System and ASR Acetabular System followed findings from the National Joint Registry of England and Wales that revealed that 1 out of every 8 patients (12%-13%) implanted with the devices needed revision surgery within five years of the original surgery.

At least 3,500 lawsuits have been filed in the U.S. over the DePuy ASR hip implants. Last month, Johnson & Johnso disclosed it had taken a $3 billion charge to cover costs associated with the recall and litigation surrounding its hip implants.

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