Animal models of bone cancer pain: Systematic review and meta-analyses

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SummarySystematic review identified 38 animal models of bone cancer pain. Reported methodological quality was low; improving this may enhance translation to the clinic.Pain can significantly decrease the quality of life of patients with advanced cancer. Current treatment strategies often provide inadequate analgesia and unacceptable side effects. Animal models of bone cancer pain are used in the development of novel pharmacological approaches. Here we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of publications describing in vivo modelling of bone cancer pain in which behavioural, general health, macroscopic, histological, biochemical, or electrophysiological outcomes were reported and compared to appropriate controls. In all, 150 publications met our inclusion criteria, describing 38 different models of bone cancer pain. Reported methodological quality was low; only 31% of publications reported blinded assessment of outcome, and 11% reported random allocation to group. No publication reported a sample size calculation. Studies that reported measures to reduce bias reported smaller differences in behavioural outcomes between tumour-bearing and control animals, and studies that presented a statement regarding a conflict of interest reported larger differences in behavioural outcomes. Larger differences in behavioural outcomes were reported in female animals, when cancer cells were injected into either the tibia or femur, and when MatLyLu prostate or Lewis Lung cancer cells were used. Mechanical-evoked pain behaviours were most commonly reported; however, the largest difference was observed in spontaneous pain behaviours. In the spinal cord astrocyte activation and increased levels of Substance P receptor internalisation, c-Fos, dynorphin, tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-1β have been reported in bone cancer pain models, suggesting several potential therapeutic targets. However, the translational impact of animal models on clinical pain research could be enhanced by improving methodological quality.

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