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Metal-On-Metal Hip Implants Not Linked to Early Cancer Risk, Study Says

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Metal-on-metal hip implant makers received a bit of a reprieve in the ongoing controversy surrounding their devices. An emerging announcement states that the often-defective implants are not linked to an early cancer risk.

The researchers stressed, however, that the results were limited and more study and observation are needed, said Mass Device. A Reuters report noted that the researchers were unable to reach a conclusion about cancer risks linked to metal-on-metal hip replacement over the long-term, noted NewsInferno.

The seven-year study of the United Kingdom’s National Joint Registry was originally

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published in the British Medical Journal in April and was presented last week at a British Orthopaedic Association meeting.

Following DePuy Orthopaedics recall of its ASR devices in August 2010, research revealed increased rates of patients requiring revision surgeries after receiving their implants. Some reports warned that metal-on-metal hip device recipients were exposed to toxic compounds that put them at risk for cancer, cardiomyopathy, destruction of the muscle and bone, and DNA changes, Mass Device explained.

Metal-on-metal implants include Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy ASR and Pinnacle, Smith & Nephew’s Birmingham, and Zimmer’s Durom. The devices are known to shed chromium-cobalt particles when the metal parts wear against each other, according to researchers, said MassDevice. “Recent coverage on metal-on-metal hip replacements has highlighted concerns about the effect metal ions, from the wear of metal-on-metal implants, have on the body,” said a U.K. National Joint Registry press release. “As yet, there is no proven link between DNA changes and an increased incidence of cancer.”

The UK National Joint Registry (NJR) pointed out that metal-on-metal hip implants should be tracked given that many cancers could take longer to develop, said NewsInferno. “We must, however, point out that many cancers have prolonged latency after initial exposure to carcinogens and thus long-term follow up is needed to provide a definitive answer,” wrote the NJR in its Annual Report.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Devices Panel issued a recommendation this summer calling for new warnings on the labels for metal-on-metal hip devices, and urged patients implanted with these devices to receive regular monitoring to ensure their devices are not failing, said NewsInferno.

The metal-on-metal hip implant debacle began gaining steam following the DePuy recall in . Just prior, in June 2010, a Florida woman filed a lawsuit accusing the firm of being aware of the devices problems, yet failing to warn physicians, MassDevice said. Days later, three more lawsuits were filed by California residents who all had to undergo revision surgery because their devices had partially detached from their sockets. Now, more than 6,000 personal injury lawsuits filed over the DePuy ASR hip implants have been consolidated under Judge David Katz of the U.S. District Court for Northern Ohio in December 2010.

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