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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

UMiami: Study Finds Association Between C-reactive Protein and Radiotherapy-Related Pain in Breast Cancer Patients

Among American women, breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death and the most often diagnosed type of cancer. Adjuvant radiotherapy (RT), a treatment option, decreases the likelihood of a relapse. RT, however, does have adverse responses that negatively affect the overall quality of life of patients, such as by causing pain.

Pain is associated with inflammation and can be measured as C-reactive protein (CRP). CRP is a protein made by the liver and is circulating in the bloodstream in response to inflammation. To help guide the decision of RT, as well as with the development of targeted interventions to improve the quality of life patients, a pilot study, published in Breast Cancer Research, examined CRP and its association with pain before and after RT.

From 2008 to 2014, researchers evaluated pain levels before and after RT treatment of breast cancer patients. Their CRP levels were measured using the CRP ELISA Kit, which is a quick, but accurate research tool. To assess levels of pain, researchers used scores from the Brief Pain Inventory.

Data showed a significant association between elevated pre-RT CRP and RT-related pain in breast cancer patients. Patients reported a significantly higher pain score at post-RT compared to pre-RT. African American and Hispanic White patients had significantly higher pre-RT and post-RT pain scores compared to those in non-Hispanic White patients.

Dr. Eunkung Lee from the University of Central Florida’s College of Health Professions and Science was the lead author on the study. The study was also co-authored by researchers at the University of Miami Department of Public Health Sciences, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Department of Radiation Oncology, the University of Central Florida’s Department of Health Sciences, as well as by researchers at Johns Hopkins University’s Department of Radiation Oncology.

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