Dendritic cell vaccine as an alternative to opioid analgesia in patients with advanced cervical cancer.
Background: Locally advanced and progressive cervical cancer is always accompanied by the pain syndrome. The common analgesics include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and opioids. The purpose of the study was to assess allogeneic dendritic cell vaccine (DCV) as an alternative analgesic in patients with advanced cervical cancer.
Methods: The pain syndrome dynamics was assessed in 20 patients with advanced T3-4N1M0-1 cervical cancer receiving subcutaneous paravertebral injections of allogeneic DCV in a total alternating dose of 5-10 million cells every 2 weeks. Patients received DCV for one year, with a total of 24 vaccine therapy sessions and a total dosage of 180 million dendritic cells. The pain intensity was assessed on a verbal rating scale: 0 – no pain; 1 – mild pain; 2 – moderate pain; 3 – severe pain; 4 – extremely intense pain.
Results: Prior to the therapy, 15 patients (75%) had severe pain; 2 (10%) – moderate pain; 3 (15%) – extremely intense pain. After 4-6 DCV injections, the pain intensity decreased, patients refused opioid analgesics. After 10-12 DCV sessions, 19 (95%) (p < 0.05) women had no pain at all, patients denied additional pain relief with non-opioid analgesics. Unrelieved pain was registered only in one cervical cancer patient.
Conclusions: DCV injections in patients with advanced cervical cancer provide pain relief thereby improving their quality of life.