Identifying biomarkers for chronic pain after breast cancer treatment.
Up to 40% of women experience chronic pain after treatment for breast cancer, and this pain is often very disabling. However, chronic pain after breast cancer remains under-recognised and undertreated. An effective and patient-tailored approach of (chronic) pain after breast cancer indeed requires a thorough knowledge and
evaluation of the pain. In daily clinical practice, however, guidelines for a comprehensive diagnosis of pain in cancer patients and survivors are lacking. Further research in this topic is crucial for an efficient, preventive as well as curative, approach of pain after breast cancer. Besides the high prevalence and the important impact of pain in this population, the breast cancer population is also an ideal population to study chronic pain and its natural time course in different stages, since most patients start pain-free, but almost half of them end up
with chronic pain. Therefore, this study aims to map biomarkers (both predictive, prognostic and diagnostic) for chronic pain after breast cancer treatment. We will study possible biopsychosocial biomarkers in
relation to (chronic) pain and monitor their temporal changes from the moment of diagnosis until 1 year after surgery. The potential biomarkers are situated within the medical imaging of the brain, measurements of pain sensitivity and psychological variables.
> CarEdOn primary researchers: Prof. An De Groef, Prof. Mira Meeus
> Research partners: Prof. Peter Van Dam, medical coordinator gynaecological and breast cancer, University Hospital Antwerp (Belgium), Prof. Wiebren Tjalma, medical coordinator breast clinical, University Hospital Antwerp (Belgium)
> Funding: Research Foundation Flanders - junior research project
> Keywords: breast cancer, pain, sensory function, quantitative sensory testing