Persistent pain following breast cancer surgery is a significant clinical problem. Although immune mechanisms may play a role in the development and maintenance of persistent pain, few studies have evaluated for associations between persistent breast pain following breast cancer surgery and variations in cytokine genes. In this study, associations between previously identified extreme persistent breast pain phenotypes (ie, no pain vs severe pain) and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) spanning 15 cytokine genes were evaluated. In unadjusted analyses, the frequency of 13 SNPs and 3 haplotypes in 7 genes differed significantly between the no pain and severe pain classes. After adjustment for preoperative breast pain and the severity of average postoperative pain, 1 SNP (ie, interleukin [IL] 1 receptor 2 rs11674595) and 1 haplotype (ie, IL10 haplotype A8) were associated with pain group membership. These findings suggest a role for cytokine gene polymorphisms in the development of persistent breast pain following breast cancer surgery. Perspective This study evaluated for associations between cytokine gene variations and the severity of persistent breast pain in women following breast cancer surgery. Variations in 2 cytokine genes were associated with severe breast pain. The results suggest that cytokines play a role in the development of persistent postsurgical pain. © 2014 by the American Pain Society.
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