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Research vision: Cancer Pain

Dr. M.H.J. van den Beuken-Everdingen, Internal Medicine/Oncology, Pain & Palliative Care

In patients with cancer pain is a major problem. 59% of the cancer patients has pain during the treatment period of their cancer. A percentage of 64% is found in cancer patient with palliative care. In the Netherlands more than 50% of the cancer patients is inadequately treated for their pain. About 20% of the pain in cancer patients is neuropathic and in 40% a combination of nociceptive and neuropathic pain exists.

In particular neuropathic pain has a major impact om the quality of life of the cancer patient.  In addition, the pharmacological  treatment possibilities of neuropathic pain have only partial effect.

In neuropathic pain, in view of its aetiology, central sensitisation plays a major role. In particular the N-Methyl-D-Aspartate receptors (NMDA-receptor) are involved. Clinical efficacy research will focus on the pharmacological pain treatment of the NMDA-receptorantagonist methadone in cancer patients with neuropathic pain. Experimental pain research will focus on the mode of action of the different NMDA-receptors in the spinal cord. In addition, new NMDA-receptor antagonists will be evaluated.

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