DOLORisk: study protocol for a multi-centre observational study to understand the risk factors and determinants of neuropathic pain

Mathilde M. V. Pascal (Lead / Corresponding author), Andreas C. Themistocleous, Ralf Baron, Andreas Binder, Didier Bouhassira, Geert Crombez, Nanna B. Finnerup, Janne Gierthmühlen, Yelena Granovsky, Leif Groop, Harry L. Hebert, Troels S. Jensen, Kristinn Johnsen, Mark I. McCarthy, Weihua Meng, Colin N. A. Palmer, Andrew S. C. Rice, Jordi Serra, Romà Solà, David YarnitskyBlair H. Smith, Nadine Attal, David L. H. Bennett (Lead / Corresponding author)

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Background: Neuropathic pain is an increasingly prevalent condition and has a major impact on health and quality of life. However, the risk factors for the development and maintenance of neuropathic pain are poorly understood. Clinical, genetic and psychosocial factors all contribute to chronic pain, but their interactions have not been studied in large cohorts. The DOLORisk study aims to study these factors.

Protocol: Multicentre cross-sectional and longitudinal cohorts covering the main causes leading to neuropathic pain (e.g. diabetes, surgery, chemotherapy, traumatic injury), as well as rare conditions, follow a common protocol for phenotyping of the participants. This core protocol correlates answers given by the participants on a set of questionnaires with the results of their genetic analyses. A smaller number of participants undergo deeper phenotyping procedures, including neurological examination, nerve conduction studies, threshold tracking, quantitative sensory testing, conditioned pain modulation and electroencephalography.
Ethics and dissemination: All studies have been approved by their regional ethics committees as required by national law. Results are disseminated through the DOLORisk website, scientific meetings, open-access publications, and in partnership with patient organisations.

Strengths and limitations:
- Large cohorts covering many possible triggers for neuropathic pain
- Multi-disciplinary approach to study the interaction of clinical, psychosocial and genetic risk factors
- High comparability of the data across centres thanks to harmonised protocols
- One limitation is that the length of the questionnaires might reduce the response rate and quality of responses of participants
Original languageEnglish
Article number63
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalWellcome Open Research
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2018


  • pain
  • neuropathy
  • neuropathic pain
  • diabetes
  • nerve injury
  • risk factors
  • protocol


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