Pediatric Drugs

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 59–70 | Cite as

Neuropathic Pain in Pediatric Oncology: A Clinical Decision Algorithm

  • Doralina L. AnghelescuEmail author
  • Jessica Michala Tesney
Therapy in Practice


Neuropathic pain in pediatric oncology can be caused by distinct lesions or disease processes affecting the somatosensory system, including chemotherapy-related neuronal injury, solid tumor-related involvement of neural structures, post-surgical neuropathic pain—including phantom limb pain and pain after limb-sparing surgery—and the complex circumstances of neuropathic pain at the end of life. Treatment algorithms reflect the general treatment principles applied for adult neuropathic pain, but the dose regimens applied in children are modest and rarely escalated to the maximum doses to optimize analgesic efficacy. Pharmacological management of neuropathic pain should be based on a stepwise intervention strategy, as combinations of medications are the most effective approach. Gabapentinoids and tricyclic antidepressants are recommended as first-line therapy. Methadone, ketamine, and lidocaine may be useful adjuvants in selected patients. Prospective studies extended over a substantial length of time are recommended because of the nature of neuropathic pain as persistent, chronic pain and based on the need for sufficient time to escalate medication dose regimens to full analgesic efficacy.


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of interest

Doralina L. Anghelescu, Jessica Michala Tesney have no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this article.


The preparation of this manuscript was supported in part by the National Cancer Institute Cancer Center Support Core Grant 5P25CA023944 and ALSAC. Funding for the work done by JMT was provided by grant R25CA23944 from the National Cancer Institute.

Supplementary material

40272_2018_324_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (62 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 62 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Anesthesia, Department of Pediatric MedicineSt. Jude Children’s Research HospitalMemphisUSA

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