Pain Med 2016 April 26 [Epub ahead of print] [Link]

MacLeod N, Kelly C, Stobo J, McMahon L, Taggart D, Fallon M, Laird BJ.

Abstract

NTRODUCTION:
Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is associated with severe pain. The underlying neurobiology of this is complex. The primary aim of this study was to characterize pain in MPM.
METHODS:
This study was undertaken as part of a trial examining radiotherapy for the treatment of pain in MPM (ISRCTN 10644347). Patients had MPM with associated pain for which radiotherapy was planned and a worst pain score ≥ 4/10. The following assessments were undertaken: clinical neuropathic pain assessment, Brief Pain Inventory (BPI), Leeds Assessment of Neuropathic Symptoms and Signs (LANSS), Short form of the McGill Pain Questionnaire (SF-MPQ), and Quantitative Sensory Testing (QST). The relationship of these characteristics and response to radiotherapy was assessed. Unless stated, medians and interquartile range (IQR) are used.
RESULTS:
Thirty-seven patients were recruited. Average pain and worst pain was 4 (4-6) and 8 (6-8), respectively. Higher average pain and higher worst pain scores were associated with higher interference scores on the BPI, P < 0.001 and P < 0.0005. Twenty patients (54%) had a clinical diagnosis of neuropathic pain, and of these, only six patients (40%) screened positively for neuropathic pain using the LANSS. Patients with a high LANSS also had higher BPI and SF-MPQs. The presence of neuropathic pain (clinically or by LANSS) did not predict response to radiotherapy, P < 0.05. The SF-MPQ scores were higher in those with abnormal cool sensation on QST (P = 0.016). CONCLUSION: Pain in mesothelioma varies among patients and may have neuropathic components. An adequate pain assessment is necessary to guide the clinician in the appropriate choice of analgesics.