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Percutaneous cervical cordotomy for cancer-related pain: prospective multimodal outcomes evaluation


Background Percutaneous cervical cordotomy (PCC) offers pain relief to patients with unilateral treatment-refractory cancer-related pain. There is insufficient evidence about any effects of this intervention on patients’ quality of life.

Method Comprehensive multimodal assessment to determine how PCC affects pain, analgesic intake and quality of life of patients with medically refractory, unilateral cancer-related pain.This study was set in a multidisciplinary, tertiary cancer pain service. Patient outcomes immediately following PCC were prospectively recorded. Patients were also followed up at 4 weeks.

Results Outcome variables collected included: background and breakthrough pain numerical rating scores before PCC, at discharge and 4 weeks postprocedure; oral morphine equivalent opioid dose changes, Patient’s Global Impression of Change, Eastern Cooperative oncology group performance status and health related quality of life score, that is, EuroQol-5 dimension-5 level (EQ-5D).

Conclusions Despite significant improvement in pain and other standard outcomes sustained at 4 weeks, there was little evidence of improvement in EQ-5D scores. In patients with terminal cancer, improved pain levels following cordotomy for cancer-related pain does not appear to translate into improvements in overall quality of life as assessed with the generic EQ-5D measure.

  • cancer
  • pain

Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as online supplemental information.

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