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J Pain. 2012 Jun;13(6):564-70. doi: 10.1016/j.jpain.2012.03.003. Epub 2012 Apr 28.

Changes in pain and other symptoms in patients with painful multiple myeloma-related vertebral fracture treated with kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty.

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  • 1Department of Symptom Research, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Patients with painful vertebral compression fractures produced by multiple myeloma (MM) often experience reduction in pain after spinal augmentation with kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty. Previous studies have shown pain reduction and improvement in functional status after augmentation, but no studies have examined the effect of augmentation on other cancer-related symptoms. We hypothesized that reduction in pain severity would be significantly associated with improvement in other reported symptoms. We retrospectively studied 79 patients who rated pain and symptom severity both before and after kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty. Pain was significantly reduced after spinal augmentation (1.3 on a 0 to 10 scale; effect size [ES] = .59; P < .001), as were anxiety (1.3; ES = .47), drowsiness (1.3; ES = .39), fatigue (1.1; ES = .32), depression (.7; ES = .28), and difficulty thinking clearly (.7; ES = .26) (all P < .05). Greater reduction in pain was associated with a greater number of symptoms being reduced. Interestingly, insomnia worsened regardless of any amount of improvement in pain. Because appropriate symptom control contributes to the overall well-being of cancer patients, future studies of pain reduction procedures should include measures of other symptoms to fully characterize the potential benefit of treating pain.


Appropriate symptom control contributes to overall well-being for cancer patients. This study demonstrated that pain reduction after spinal augmentation with vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty was positively associated with reduction in other patient-reported cancer-related symptoms. Future studies of these augmentation procedures should measure multiple symptoms, in addition to pain and functional status.

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