A new study has discovered the trigger behind the most severe forms of cancer pain. Released in top journal Pain this month, the study points to TMPRSS2 as the culprit: a gene that is also responsible for some of the most aggressive forms of androgen-fueled cancers.
The work focused on cancers of the head and neck, which affect more than 550,000 people worldwide each year. Studies have shown that these types of cancers are the most painful, with sufferers experiencing pain that is immediate and localized, while pain treatment options are limited to opioid-family pharmaceuticals such as morphine.
Since the majority of head and neck cancer patients are men, the team investigate a genetic marker with a known correlation to prostate cancer - TMPRSS2.