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AAPT Diagnostic Criteria for Chronic Cancer Pain Conditions.


Chronic cancer pain is a serious complication of malignancy or its treatment. Currently, no comprehensive, universally accepted cancer pain classification system exists. Clarity in classification of common cancer pain syndromes would improve clinical assessment and management. Moreover, an evidence-based taxonomy would enhance cancer pain research efforts by providing consistent diagnostic criteria, ensuring comparability across clinical trials. As part of a collaborative effort between the Analgesic, Anesthetic, and Addiction Clinical Trial Translations, Innovations, Opportunities, and Networks (ACTTION) and the American Pain Society (APS), the ACTTION-APS Pain Taxonomy initiative worked to develop the characteristics of an optimal diagnostic system. After the establishment of these characteristics, a working group consisting of clinicians and clinical and basic scientists with expertise in cancer and cancer-related pain was convened to generate core diagnostic criteria for an illustrative sample of 3 chronic pain syndromes associated with cancer (ie, bone pain and pancreatic cancer pain as models of pain related to a tumor) or its treatment (ie, chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy). A systematic review and synthesis was conducted to provide evidence for the dimensions that comprise this cancer pain taxonomy. Future efforts will subject these diagnostic categories and criteria to systematic empirical evaluation of their feasibility, reliability, and validity and extension to other cancer-related pain syndromes.


The ACTTION-APS chronic cancer pain taxonomy provides an evidence-based classification for 3 prevalent syndromes, namely malignant bone pain, pancreatic cancer pain, and chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. This taxonomy provides consistent diagnostic criteria, common features, comorbidities, consequences, and putative mechanisms for these potentially serious cancer pain conditions that can be extended and applied with other cancer-related pain syndromes.

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