Leader(s): Drs. Gurmit Singh and Jan Huizinga
Institution(s): McMaster University
Other Member(s): Drs. Murray Webb – (CDRD Vancouver); John Valliant - (CPDC McMaster); Paul Schaffer – (TRIUMF, UBC)

Why was the study done?
Cancers originating in the breast, lung and prostate often metastasize (spread) to the bone, frequently resulting in bone pain that can be difficult to manage with pain medications. This study aimed to identify specific biomarkers (markers found by taking blood samples) that could be used to monitor the potential of developing cancer induced pain. 

How was the study done?
We compared biomarkers in cancer patients who experienced a lot pain with biomarkers in a control group (cancer patients with no pain). We also compared biomarkers in patients whose cancer had spread with biomarkers in a control group (patients whose cancer had not spread).The blood samples were obtained from the Ontario Institute of Cancer Research bank of blood samples taken from cancer patients who had participated (or were participating) in other research studies. Consent was obtained from patients and Institutional Ethics approval was obtained.

What were the study results?
The study provided evidence that a set of biomarkers found in the blood of patients with breast, prostate or lung cancer were associated with pain. This knowledge could be helpful in developing new pain management approaches for patients with these types of cancer. These biomarkers will be analyzed further to see whether they are also associated with chronic pain. 

Recent Updates:
Completed data analysis and, from data, determined the effect of specific agents. Potential biomarkers have been identified.

Last updated: May 2021

Selected Publications:
  • Fazzari J, Sidhu J, Motkur S, Inman M, Buckley N, Clemons M, Vandermeer L, Singh G. Applying Serum Cytokine Levels to Predict Pain Severity in Cancer Patients. J Pain Res. 2020;13:313-321