Patrick W. Mantyh, PhD, JD, discusses cancer pain discoveries in ASCO Post

May 29, 2015

Patrick W. Mantyh, PhD, JD, shared a number of fascinating cancer-related pain management discoveries in a recent edition of The ASCO Post.

Dr. Mantyh is a Professor of Pharmacology and a research member with the University of Arizona Cancer Center's Cancer Biology Program (CBIO). His research focuses in large part on the relationship between pain management therapies and its impact on tumor growth and metastesis. His lab looks to understand why cancer cells preferentially metastasize to specific organs such as the bone, what role nerves that innervate the bone play in tumor metastasis to bone, and to develop a mechanism-based understanding and therapies to prevent the metastasis of tumors to bone, the growth of tumors in bone and reduce the severe pain that tumor metastases can cause.

ASCO Post writer Jo Cavallo asked Dr. Mantyh about "when pain management strategies should be started in the palliative care setting; what the most effective therapies are for controlling pain; and the emergence of targeted symptom therapy in alleviating cancer pain." The interview was published online May 25.

Some highlights from Dr. Mantyh's Q&A:

• Pain management in the cancer setting should be started as early as possible and continue into survivorship. The earlier you treat the pain, the easier it is for the clinician and the patient to control the pain, which can dramatically increase the quality of life and functional status of the patient.

• Dr. Mantyh explained the concept of the “analgesic ladder,” which begins with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), then an NSAID plus a mild opiate, and, finally, when the pain becomes severe, an NSAID plus a strong opiate.

• Major strides have been made in the field of cancer pain, particularly when compared to where this field was a decade earlier. "Pharmaceutical and biotech companies now look upon cancer pain as a viable therapeutic target," Dr. Mantyh said.

• Dr. Mantyh ended the interview on a particularly optimsitic and encouraging note: "Given the importance of bone metastasis in many common cancers, this is an exciting time to be involved in the discovery and development of new therapies that decrease pain, improve quality of life, and potentially increase survival of patients with metastatic cancer."

Read the entire interview with Dr. Mantyh on The ASCO Post website.

May 29, 2015