Interventional pain management in cancer patients-a scoping review

M. H. Habib, M. Schlögl, S. Raza, M. Chwistek, A. Gulati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Pain is the most prevalent symptom in cancer patients. To improve pain care, World Health Organization (WHO) Pain ladder was introduced in 1986 as a template for choosing pain medications in oncological settings. Since then, advancements in oncological treatments have improved the survival of cancer patients, requiring prolonged analgesia in various treatment stages. Additionally, there have been newer challenges in pain management with opioid epidemic and associated opioid use disorders. This has shifted the focus from WHO Pain Ladder and brought new importance to the rapidly evolving realm of interventional pain modalities for cancer pain management. This article reviews such interventional pain and minimally invasive neurosurgical options for pain management in cancer patients. METHODS: Systemic literature search in PubMed, Cochrane, and Embase. This included review articles, randomized controlled trials, non-randomized clinical trials (RCTs), and case series. RESULTS: A large array of interventional pain modalities are available for oncological pain management. These modalities carry relatively lower risk and provide effective analgesia while reducing concerns related to opioid use disorder. They target various areas in the anatomical and physiological pain pathways and provide more focused options for pain management at various stages of cancer and survivorship. Additionally, with improved sterile techniques, better imaging modalities, and growing technical and clinical expertise, interventional pain modalities offer a safe and often more efficacious method of pain management nowadays. Procedural modalities like intrathecal (IT) pumps, neuromodulation, kyphoplasty, and newer more targeted ablative techniques are now increasingly finding more roles and indications in cancer population. CONCLUSIONS: Interventional pain techniques are rapidly evolving and have become an integral part of cancer pain management. They can provide an additional option for cancer pain management, and can help reduce opioid consumption, and associated opioid side effects. With improvement in imaging modalities, procedural techniques, hardware, and infection control, they have a good safety profile and provide a rapid and efficacious approach for cancer pain management. This review articles aims to provide a basic understanding of various interventional pain modalities, their indications, efficacy, safety data, and associated complications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1198-1214
Number of pages17
JournalAnnals of Palliative Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2023


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