AAPT Diagnostic Criteria for Chronic Cancer Pain Conditions

Judith A. Paice, Matt Mulvey, Michael Bennett, Patrick M. Dougherty, John T. Farrar, Patrick W. Mantyh, Christine Miaskowski, Brian Schmidt, Thomas J. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Chronic cancer pain is a serious complication of malignancy or its treatment. Currently, no comprehensive, universally accepted cancer pain classification system exists. Clarity in classification of common cancer pain syndromes would improve clinical assessment and management. Moreover, an evidence-based taxonomy would enhance cancer pain research efforts by providing consistent diagnostic criteria, ensuring comparability across clinical trials. As part of a collaborative effort between the Analgesic, Anesthetic, and Addiction Clinical Trial Translations, Innovations, Opportunities, and Networks (ACTTION) and the American Pain Society (APS), the ACTTION-APS Pain Taxonomy initiative worked to develop the characteristics of an optimal diagnostic system. After the establishment of these characteristics, a working group consisting of clinicians and clinical and basic scientists with expertise in cancer and cancer-related pain was convened to generate core diagnostic criteria for an illustrative sample of 3 chronic pain syndromes associated with cancer (ie, bone pain and pancreatic cancer pain as models of pain related to a tumor) or its treatment (ie, chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy). A systematic review and synthesis was conducted to provide evidence for the dimensions that comprise this cancer pain taxonomy. Future efforts will subject these diagnostic categories and criteria to systematic empirical evaluation of their feasibility, reliability, and validity and extension to other cancer-related pain syndromes. Perspective The ACTTION-APS chronic cancer pain taxonomy provides an evidence-based classification for 3 prevalent syndromes, namely malignant bone pain, pancreatic cancer pain, and chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. This taxonomy provides consistent diagnostic criteria, common features, comorbidities, consequences, and putative mechanisms for these potentially serious cancer pain conditions that can be extended and applied with other cancer-related pain syndromes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-246
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Pain
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • Cancer pain
  • bone pain
  • chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy
  • pancreatic cancer
  • taxonomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'AAPT Diagnostic Criteria for Chronic Cancer Pain Conditions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this