Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Intrathecal cervical analgesia for cancer pain: a 12-year follow-up study in a comprehensive cancer center


Background Intrathecal analgesia plays a key role for patients suffering refractory cancer pain. Nevertheless, intrathecal drug delivery systems (IDDS), requiring a cervical catheter tip implantation, have been poorly described in medical literature.

Aims A monocentric retrospective follow-up study was designed to evaluate results of cervical IDDS for cancer pain.

Patients and methods From January 2010 to December 2022, all intrathecal-treated patients were prescribed a combined intrathecal analgesics regimen through a catheter placed in the cervical vertebral canal. Post-implant assessment of pain was determined using a numeric rating scale (NRS). Patients were followed via day-hospital visits and telephone calls at least monthly. Pain scores were compared using the Wilcoxon’s signed rank test.

Results Ninety-eight patients were included in this study; all received intrathecal treatments. Implanted patients suffered from severe pain (mean presurgical maximum numerical rating score 8.02±0.24 despite a mean 562.56±127.72 mg of oral morphine equivalent daily dose). Mean survival time after intrathecal treatment start was 208.48±67 days. Intrathecal drug delivery systems provided pain relief compared with initial pain score with a significant statistical difference after 1 week, 1 month, 2 and 3 months (p<0.01). A 50% reduction in initial pain level was achieved in 93% of cases during the first week of intrathecal implant.

Conclusions Results suggest that long-term intrathecal treatment using a multidrug regimen for cancer-related pain through cervical intrathecal catheters was suitable and safe in our study population. We demonstrated a clinically and statistically significant pain reduction in patients using mainly a percutaneous lumbar approach.

  • cancer pain
  • facial pain
  • injections, spinal
  • neck pain

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.