Pain Phenotyping of Patients With Bone Cancer Pain

  • End date
    Feb 1, 2023
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    University of Copenhagen
Updated on 9 March 2021


The study aims to describe and quantify pain related to metastatic bone disease. The study will include 50 subjects with disseminated breast cancer and 20 healthy subjects. The pain will be described and quantified through (1) pain specific questionnaires, (2) quantitative sensory testing that assess sensory changes to cold, heat and mechanical stimulation of the skin overlying the metastatic site, and (3) conditioned pain modulation that investigates impairment of the endogenous inhibitory pain pathway in humans.


Cancer patients in palliative care point to pain as their most important and most feared symptom. Bone metastases are a common cause of cancer pain, and the patients are prone to transient severe pain exacerbations (breakthrough pain), which can occur spontaneously or be triggered by movement. Patients with bone metastases experience pain of such high intensity, that it affects not only physical activity, but also sleep, mood and social relations. This results in poor quality of life for the patients and poses an increasing clinical and socio-economical problem. The pain is difficult to treat and often requires high opioid doses which results in unacceptable adverse effects, and there is an unmet need of novel therapeutic options and treatment strategies.

Animal models of cancer-induced bone pain have suggested that pain arising from metastatic bone disease involve neuropathic and nociceptive pain mechanisms and, importantly, mechanisms that are specific to cancer-induced bone pain. Significant neuronal sprouting can occur at the metastatic site, and the inherent pain control system is found altered in animal models of cancer-induced bone pain; a system that can be exploited for treatment strategies and in the development of new analgesia. Yet, it is not known how the pre-clinical findings translate to patients.

Quantitative sensory testing is a psychophysical method that uses a battery of sensory stimuli with predetermined physical properties, thus allowing the capture and quantification of stimulus-evoked negative and positive sensory phenomena in humans. Conditioned pain modulation is a psychophysical experimental measure of the endogenous pain inhibitory pathway in humans, which can be used to detect an impairment of the descending inhibitory pain pathway.

This study aims to perform pain phenotyping of patients suffering from cancer-induced bone pain, through pain specific questionnaires, quantitative sensory testing and conditioned pain modulation.

Condition Pain, Acute Pain Service, Bone Metastases, Post-Surgical Pain, Metastatic Breast Cancer, Stage IV Breast Cancer, Bone Metastasis, Pain (Pediatric), ache
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT03908853
SponsorUniversity of Copenhagen
Last Modified on9 March 2021


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Inclusion Criteria

Is your age greater than or equal to 18 yrs?
Are you female?
Do you have any of these conditions: Bone Metastasis or Pain or Stage IV Breast Cancer or Pain (Pediatric) or Bone Metastases or Post-Surgical Pain or Acute Pain Service or Metastatic Bre...?
Do you have any of these conditions: Acute Pain Service or Post-Surgical Pain or Metastatic Breast Cancer or Stage IV Breast Cancer or Pain or Bone Metastases or ache or Bone Metastasis o...?
Do you have any of these conditions: Bone Metastasis or Stage IV Breast Cancer or Pain or Pain (Pediatric) or Metastatic Breast Cancer or Bone Metastases or Acute Pain Service or ache or ...?
Primary breast cancer
Bone metastases

Exclusion Criteria

Not fluent in spoken Danish
Chemotherapy or radiation within the last 3 months
Other chronic pain disease that may affect the quantitative sensory testing or conditioned pain modulation
Alcohol or medicine abuse
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