Endoscopic ultrasound-guided celiac plexus neurolysis (EUS-CPN) technique and analgesic efficacy in patients with pancreatic cancer: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Andreas Koulouris, Leo Alexandre, Andrew Hart, Allan Clark

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Endoscopic Ultrasound-guided Celiac Plexus Neurolysis (EUS-CPN) for the treatment of abdominal pain in pancreatic cancer can be administered in three different ways, depending on the site of needle insertion: central injection (CI), bilateral injection (BI) and celiac ganglia neurolysis (CGN). This meta-analysis aimed to (1) estimate the overall efficacy of the EUS-CPN; (2) compare the efficacy of each of the three techniques; and (3) investigate demographic and disease characteristics as potential predictors of treatment response.

We searched MEDLINE and EMBASE for studies that reported the proportion of treatment responders to EUS-CPN overall, and according to the technique used. We performed a random effects meta-analysis of proportions, and meta-regression was used to estimate the association between technique and clinical characteristics on treatment response. The safety profile was reviewed through narrative synthesis.

Overall response rate to EUS-CPN was 68% (95% CI 61%–74%) at week two and 53% (95% CI 45%–62%) at week four. There was no evidence of a significant difference in the response rates between the three techniques. Demographics and disease characteristics were not associated with treatment response. Serious complications have been reported for BI and CGN but not for CI. Moderate to high risk of bias was observed.

EUS-CPN is a useful adjunct to opioids in the management of pain. There is no evidence of a difference in the efficacy among the three techniques, however, CI is the only one for which serious complications have not been reported. Future research should focus on the appropriate timing of EUS-CPN (early versus on demand) and randomised comparison to establish the comparative efficacy of each technique.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)434-442
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Early online date8 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • Endoscopic ultrasound
  • Endoscopic ultrasound guided celiac plexus neurolysis
  • Interventional analgesia
  • Pancreatic cancer related abdominal pain

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