Effects of music-based interventions on cancer-related pain, fatigue, and distress: an overview of systematic reviews

Author: Ana Trigueros-Murillo1, Javier Martinez-Calderon1,2, María Jesús Casuso-Holgado1,2, Paula González-García3,4, Alberto Marcos Heredia-Rizo1,2
1 Departamento de Fisioterapia, Facultad de Enfermería, Fisioterapia y Podología, Universidad de Sevilla, Seville, Spain.
2 CTS 1110: Uncertainty, Mindfulness, Self, and Spirituality (UMMS) research group, Andalusia, Spain.
3 Departamento de Fisioterapia, Facultad de Enfermería, Fisioterapia y Podología, Universidad de Sevilla, Seville, Spain. pgonzalez@us.es.
4 Instituto de Biomedicina de Sevilla, IBiS, Departamento de Fisioterapia, Universidad de Sevilla, Seville, Spain. pgonzalez@us.es.
Conference/Journal: Support Care Cancer
Date published: 2023 Jul 24
Other: Volume ID: 31 , Issue ID: 8 , Pages: 488 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1007/s00520-023-07938-6. , Word Count: 254

To summarize the available evidence from systematic reviews with meta-analysis on the effects of music-based interventions in adults diagnosed with cancer.

An overview of systematic reviews was conducted. CINHAL, Embase, PEDro, PubMed, Scopus, the Cochrane Library and Web of Science were searched from inception until November 2022. Systematic reviews with meta-analysis in individuals with cancer (any type), any comparator, and outcomes of cancer-related pain, fatigue, and psychosocial symptoms were eligible. The methodological quality of systematic reviews and the amount of spin of information in the abstract were assessed. The Graphical Representation of Overlap for OVErviews tool (GROOVE) was used to explore the overlap of primary studies among systematic reviews.

Thirteen systematic reviews, with over 9000 participants, containing 119 randomized trials and 34 meta-analyses of interest, were included. Music-based interventions involved passive music listening or patients' active engagement. Most systematic reviews lacked a comprehensive search strategy, did not assess the certainty in the evidence and discussed their findings without considering the risk of bias of primary studies. The degree of overlap was moderate (5.81%). Overall, combining music-based interventions and standard care seems to be more effective than standard care to reduce cancer-related pain, fatigue, and distress. Mixed findings were found for other psychosocial measures.

Music-based interventions could be an interesting approach to modulate cancer-related pain, fatigue, and distress in adults with cancer. The variability among interventions, together with important methodological biases, detract from the clinical relevance of these findings.

Keywords: Cancer; Fatigue: Meta-analysis; Music therapy; Pain; Systematic review.

PMID: 37486578 PMCID: PMC10366242 DOI: 10.1007/s00520-023-07938-6