Cancer Pain

Cancer Pain is a subgroup of the MASCC Palliative Care Study Group

Mellar Davis, MD
Akhila Reddy, MD

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For more information or questions, contact the MASCC office at [email protected].

Mission and Goals

More than 80% of patients with advanced cancer develop severe pain, a primary concern for both patients and their caretakers. For these patients, opioids are a highly effective treatment that can reduce pain intensity, restore function, and improve quality of life. However, the drug, dosage, and route of administration are complex and must be personalized for maximum symptom control. In addition, addiction risk, overdose, drug interactions, opioid availability in developing countries, and the high cost of these drugs are critical issues in the use of opioids for cancer pain. The Subgroup has been established to focus attention on these issues and to address some of the most challenging issues in cancer pain management. Topics of interest include the following:

• Opioid Choices: First- and second-line opioids used in cancer pain management
• Opioid dosing strategies in acute and chronic pain management
• Opioid availability: advocate for the availability of opioid analgesics in developing countries
• Patient and caregiver perspectives on NARCAN® (naloxone HCl) spray for accidental opioid overdose and the impact of provider education on its prescription in high-risk patients
• Development of guidelines to address non-medical opioid use among cancer patients
• Buprenorphine as a means of tapering opioids in patients with prolonged abstinence and complex persistent dependence

 Subgroup Activities

Davis MP, Behm B, Mehta Z, Fernandez C. The Potential Benefits of Palmitoylethanolamide in Palliation: A Qualitative Systematic Review. Am J Hosp Palliat Care. 2019 Dec;36(12):1134-1154. doi: 10.1177/1049909119850807. Epub 2019 May 21. PMID: 31113223 

Reddy A, Vidal M, Haider A, Arthur J, Hui D, Wu J, Liu D, Holmes C, Carrol M, Dalal S, Dev R, Tanco K, Bruera E. A retrospective review of the use of oxymorphone immediate release for long term pain control in cancer patients with gastrostomy tubes. Ann Palliat Med. 2021 Mar;10(3):2662-2667. doi: 10.21037/apm-20-969. Epub 2021 Jan 27. PMID: 33549000. 

Amaram-Davila JS, Arthur J, Reddy A, Bruera E. Managing Nonmedical Opioid Use Among Patients With Cancer Pain During the COVID-19 Pandemic Using the CHAT Model and Telehealth. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2021 Jan 27:S0885-3924(21)00010-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2021.01.005. Epub ahead of print.

Arthur JA, Tang M, Lu Z, Hui D, Nguyen K, Rodriguez EM, Edwards T, Yennurajalingam S, Dalal S, Dev R, Reddy A, Tanco K, Haider A, Liu DD, Bruera E. Random urine drug testing among patients receiving opioid therapy for cancer pain. Cancer. 2021 Mar 15;127(6):968-975. doi: 10.1002/cncr.33326. Epub 2020 Nov 24.

Firdous S, Berger A, Jehangir W, Fernandez C, Behm B, Mehta ZY, Reddy A, Davis M. How Should We Assess Pain: Do Patients Prefer a Quantitative or Qualitative Scale? A Study of Patient Preferences. Am J Hosp Palliat Care. 2021 Apr;38(4):383-390. doi: 10.1177/1049909120945599. Epub 2020 Jul 28. PMID: 32720804.

Case A, Kulligren J, Anwar S, Pedraza S, Davis MP. Treating Chronic Pain with Buprenorphine-The Practical Guide. Current Treatment Options in Oncology. 2021 May (in press).

Davis MP. Methadone Does Not Block NMDA Receptors. Journal of Pain and Symptom Manage. 2021 May 2021 (in press).

Davis MP. Letter to the Editor in Response to Buprenorphine Maintenance Subjects Are Hyperalgesic and Have No Antinociceptive Response to a Very High Morphine Dose. Pain Med. 2020 Sep 1;21(9):2006-2007. doi: 10.1093/pm/pnaa065.

Davis MP, Behm B. Reasons to Avoid Fentanyl. Ann Palliat Med. 2020 Mar;9(2):611-624. doi: 10.21037/apm.2020.01.12. Epub 2020 Mar 3.

Waqas J, Mehta Z, Davis MP. Opioid-Related Sleep-Disordered Breathing: An Update for Clinicians. Am J Hosp Palliat Care 2020 Nov;37(11):970-973 doi: 10.1177/1049909120913232.

Davis MP, Digwood G, Mehta Z, McPherson ML. Tapering opioids: A Comprehensive Qualitative Review. Ann Palliat Med. 2020 Mar;9(2):586-610. doi: 10.21037/apm.2019.12.10. Epub 2020 Jan 16.

Davis MP. Opioid Utility and the Clinician. Ann Palliat Med. 2020 Mar;9(2):526-527. doi: 10.21037/apm.2020.03.06. Epub 2020 Mar 17.

Subgroup News
Subgroup Annual Report


Last Updated on Friday, October 08, 2021 03:20 PM