Patient-reported neuropathic pain in adolescent and young adult cancer patients

Melissa A. Acquazzino, Eva C. Igler, Mahua Dasgupta, Pippa Simpson, Meghen B. Browning, Amanda M. Brandow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Neuropathic pain, a known complication of cancer and its treatments, negatively impacts quality of life. There are limited data using screening tools to aid in the diagnosis of neuropathic pain in cancer patients. Our primary objective was to determine the proportion of adolescent and young adult cancer patients reporting neuropathic pain on a patient-completed, neuropathic pain screening tool. Procedures: This prospective, cohort study enrolled patients 14–39 years of age who were receiving therapy for primary cancer diagnosis, cancer relapse, or had recently completed treatment. The painDETECT, a patient-completed, neuropathic pain screening tool used down to age 14, was administered a maximum of three times in on-therapy patients and once in off-therapy patients. Provider documentation of neuropathic pain at the corresponding visit was abstracted from the medical record. Results: Seventy-eight patients participated. Median (interquartile range) age at study enrollment was 18.1 (16–19.4) years and 47% were female. Cancer diagnoses included 41% leukemia, 26% solid tumor, 23% lymphoma, and 10% central nervous system tumor. The proportion of patients reporting neuropathic pain was 26% (95% confidence interval [CI] 16–40%) in on-therapy patients and 11% (95% CI 3–27%) in off-therapy patients. In patients reporting neuropathic pain, only 26% had a clinical diagnosis of neuropathic pain documented in the medical record at the corresponding visit. Conclusions: Neuropathic pain occurs in one in four adolescents and young adults receiving cancer therapy. Use of screening tools may increase the detection of neuropathic pain in adolescents and young adults receiving cancer therapy and could ultimately improve pain treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere26364
JournalPediatric Blood and Cancer
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • cancer
  • neuropathic pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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