Impact of pain, opioids, and the mu-opioid receptor on progression and survival in patients with newly diagnosed stage IV pancreatic cancer Journal Article uri icon

abstract

  • OBJECTIVES: Pancreatic adenocarcinoma is frequently associated with pain requiring opioid therapy. Opioids, however, have been implicated in causing tumor progression, ultimately shortening survival. We examined the impact of pain, opioid use, and the mu-opioid receptor (MOP-R) expression in tumor tissue on progression-free survival and overall survival of patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer. METHODS: We identified 103 patients with metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma receiving chemotherapy and abstracted data from Tumor Registry, in addition to pain, opioid exposure, carbohydrate antigen 19-9 values, survival, and imaging response. MOP-R expression was evaluated using an immunohistochemistry assay. The association of variables with progression-free survival and overall survival was analyzed in univariate and multivariate models. RESULTS: Patients with low opioid use (<5 mg oral morphine equivalent/d) survived longer than patients with high opioid (HO) use (≥5 mg oral morphine equivalent/d) (median overall survival of 315 vs. 150 d; hazard ratio [HR]=1.79; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.13, 2.84). This effect persisted on multivariate models (adjusted HR=2.76; 95% CI: 1.39, 5.48). Low opioid patients tended to respond better to treatment than HO patients, based on carbohydrate antigen 19-9. Patients with low MOP-R expression had longer median survival (230 vs. 193 d), though the HR was not significant (1.15; 95% CI: 0.71, 1.88). Baseline pain was not associated with outcomes. CONCLUSION: In patients with metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma, HO use is associated with decreased survival, but the severity of baseline pain and MOP-R expression score in tumor tissue does not correlate with clinical outcomes.

publication date

  • 2020