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F1000Res. 2017 Jun 20;6:945. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.10817.1. eCollection 2017.

Recent advances in understanding and managing cancer pain.

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Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Fox Chase Cancer Center/Temple Health, Philadelphia, PA, USA.


Cancer pain remains a significant clinical problem worldwide. Causes of cancer pain are multifactorial and complex and are likely to vary with an array of tumor-related and host-related factors and processes. Pathophysiology is poorly understood; however, new laboratory research points to cross-talk between cancer cells and host's immune and neural systems as an important potential mechanism that may be broadly relevant to many cancer pain syndromes. Opioids remain the most effective pharmaceuticals used in the treatment of cancer pain. However, their role has been evolving due to emerging awareness of risks of chronic opioid therapy. Despite extensive research efforts, no new class of analgesics has been developed. However, many potential therapeutic targets that may lead to the establishment of new pharmaceuticals have been identified in recent years. It is also expected that the role of non-pharmacological modalities of treatment will grow in prominence. Specifically, neuromodulation, a rapidly expanding field, may play a major role in the treatment of neuropathic cancer pain provided that further technological progress permits the development of non-invasive and inexpensive neuromodulation techniques.


biology of cancer pain; cancer pain; cancer-induced bone pain; cannabis; chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy; intrathecal analgesia; medical marijuana; neuromodulation; opioids; scrambler therapy; spinal cord stimulation

Conflict of interest statement

Competing interests: The author declares that he has no competing interests.No competing interests were disclosed.No competing interests were disclosed.No competing interests were disclosed.

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