(HealthDay News) — Cryoablation is effective for controlling cancer pain without many side effects, according to a review published online in PAIN Practice.

Laura Ferrer-Mileo, from L’Hospitalet de Llobregat in Barcelona, Spain, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to identify articles that evaluated the efficacy of cryoablation to control cancer pain.

Based on 22 included studies (496 patients), the researchers found that cryoablation decreased mean pain scores by 62.5% at 24 hours post-cryoablation, by 70% at 3 months, and by 80.9% at 6 months. Relatedly, cryoablation was associated with a 44.2% improvement in quality of life after 4 weeks and a 59.6% improvement after 8 weeks. At 24 hours, the need for opioids decreased by 75%, and by 61.7% at 3 months. The combination of cryoablation with radiotherapy, vertebroplasty, or bisphosphonates appears to be better than cryoablation alone. No fatal complications were reported in any of the studies.

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“International criteria are needed to standardize measures used to evaluate pain and treatment response over time,” the authors write.

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Ferrer‐Mileo L, Isabel Luque Blanco A, and González‐Barboteo J. Efficacy of cryoablation to control cancer pain. A systematic review. Pain Prac. DOI:10.1111/papr.12707. [Published May 7, 2018]