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Papers of the Week

2019 Dec 01

Comp Med



Influence of Pain and Analgesia on Cancer Research Studies.


Taylor DK
Comp Med. 2019 Dec 01; 69(6):501-509.
PMID: 31315692.


Mice and rats are valuable and commonly used as models for the study of cancer. The models and methods of experimentation have the potential to cause pain to some degree, and all charged with ensuring animal welfare must determine how to manage it. A commonly posed question, especially from investigators and IACUC, is whether the provision of analgesic agents will render the model invalid. Left untreated, pain is a stressor and has negative consequences, most notably immune system perturbations. In addition, analgesic agents in the opioid and NSAID drug classes exhibit immunomodulatory activity and influence processes such as cell proliferation, apoptosis, and angiogenesis that are important in cancer formation. Therefore,both pain and the agents used to alleviate it have the potential to act as confounding factors in a study. This review article presents data from both human medicine and work with animal models in an attempt to help inform discussions about the withholding of analgesic agents from animals used in cancer studies.