Lidocaine and chronic post-surgical pain in breast cancer surgery

Lidocaine and chronic post-surgical pain in breast cancer surgery


LOLIPOP trial: The Long-term Outcomes of Lidocaine Infusions for persistent PostOperative Pain in patients undergoing breast cancer surgery.

In a landmark achievement, a team led by Deputy Chair of the ANZCA Clinical Trials Network, Professor Tomás Corcoran, secured a $A4.3 million grant from the Medical Research Future Fund to perform the LOLIPOP trial. The five year LOLIPOP trial is a large (n=4300) pragmatic, multicentre, randomised, stratified, controlled, superiority trial evaluating the effect of lidocaine infusions in the intra- and postoperative periods on the incidence of moderate or severe chronic post-surgical pain (CPSP) at one year in patients undergoing unilateral elective breast cancer surgery. Secondary outcomes will include analgesic efficacy (pain scores), psychological and quality of life outcomes, the influence of pharmacogenomic profile on efficacy, and cost-effectiveness.

Study hypothesis: The administration of a lidocaine infusion intraoperatively and up to 24 hours postoperatively reduces the incidence of moderate or severe CPSP following breast cancer surgery compared with placebo.

Please email Gillian Ormond if you are at all interested in being involved, with your contact details and any questions.

Principal investigator

Professor Tomás Corcoran (Monash University and Royal Perth Hospital)

Expression of Interest

Please email complete this form if you are interested in taking part in the LOLIPOP trial. 

Start-up meeting

The start-up meeting was held at the ANZCA CTN workshop on Saturday 7 August 2021. To get a copy of the recording, email Gillian Ormond. 



Women undergoing breast surgery and cancer treatment are a high-risk group for development of chronic postsurgical pain (CPSP), where it is estimated that nearly half of breast cancer surgery patients may develop  this outcome. A systematic review and meta-analysis by the study team observed a 71% reduction of the odds of CSPS (odds ratio [OR], 0.29; 95% CI, 0.18 to 0.48) with a number-needed-to-treat (NNT) of approximately 5 for lidocaine infusions - a finding that remained consistent in a planned sub-group analysis limited to breast surgery.  The primary purpose of a meta-analysis where there is insufficient evidence is in hypothesis generation and to identify equipoise. Hence, this very substantial reduction in the odds of CPSP must be tested in a properly conducted large trial. The team has published the results of the LOLIPOP pilot trial. This trial enrolled 150 patients and examined feasibility and safety outcomes in addition to pharmacokinetic data, in preparation for the large international multicentre trial.                                                                                                          
In our recent survey of ANZCA Fellows, 52% of respondents reported the incorporation of perioperative lidocaine into their practice, with the principal aim to reduce acute surgical pain and opioid use. These findings, in addition to the results of the metaanalysis, confirm that there is equipoise regarding lidocaine as a perioperative intervention.  This trial will inform clinical practise globally.        

Trial summary

Study summary
The LOLIPOP trial is a multicentre, pragmatic, double-blind, randomised trial that will compare the incidence of chronic post-surgical pain after breast cancer surgery in patients receiving a 24-hour infusion of lidocaine or placebo.

Adult females undergoing unilateral or bilateral elective surgery for a confirmed or suspected breast cancer diagnosis with no pre-existing pain at the operative site. Surgery involving immediate, autologous reconstruction is excluded.

Study intervention
Lidocaine infusion (or matched placebo) commencing with an intravenous bolus after induction of anaesthesia (2.5 mg per Kg lean body weight), followed by an intravenous infusion for the duration of surgery (3.33 mg per Kg per hour) and a subcutaneous infusion for 24 hours thereafter (2.22 mg per Kg per hour).

Primary endpoint
Chronic post-surgical pain at 1 year that is moderate or severe in severity that has been present for three months or more at the time of review.

Secondary endpoints
Chronic post-surgical pain of any severity; analgesic consumption; quality of life; surgical site infection; cancer recurrence.

Safety endpoints
Incidence of hypotension and bradycardia requiring treatment, incidence of infusion stopping events, incidence of suspected lidocaine toxicity events, incidence of suspected severe local anaesthetic toxicity events (generalised seizure, sudden unexplained loss of consciousness, life-threatening arrhythmia, cardiac arrest), and other adverse events.

Sample size
4300 patients.

Study duration
Five years.


Medical Research Future Fund grant $A4.3 million (2021-2025).

The Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, Medical Research Future Fund Funding initiative: Rare Cancers, Rare Disease and Unmet Need Neurological Disorders 2020 grant $A4.3 million (2021-2025) National Institute for Health and Care Research UK. Funding Initiative: Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Programme grant £1.8 million GBP (2024-2028)

Operations Committee

Prof Tomás Corcoran
A/Prof Andrew Toner
Ms Gillian Ormond
Ms Natalie Hird


Monash University, Melbourne
Royal Perth Hospital, Perth
Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists Clinical Trials Network (ANZCA CTN)


Recruitment for the LOLIPOP trial is underway with 27 sites actively participating, 22 sites in Australia, two sites in New Zealand and three sites in Hong Kong. We have a further two sites in Australia coming on board shortly. We will also have sites commencing the trial in the UK mid-2024. To date, 369 patients have been recruited to the trial.

We would like to thank all of our sites and especially the LOLIPOP patients for their ongoing support of the trial.

LOLIPOP website

Trial registration identifier: NCT05072314

Media releases

Participating hospitals

Australian sites
Royal Perth Hospital
Westmead Hospital
Flinders Medical Centre 
Princess Alexandra Hospital
Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Hospital
Alfred Health
Anaesthetic Group Ballarat
St John of God Subiaco Hospital
Royal Hobart Hospital
Gold Coast University Hospital
Goulburn Valley Health
Grampians Health
Latrobe Regional Hospital
Maroondah Hospital
Mackay Base Hospital
Monash Health - Moorabbin
Northern Health
Rockhampton Hospital
Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital
Royal Melbourne Hospital
Royal North Shore Hospial
St George Hospital
St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne
Barwon Health
New Zealand Hospitals
Auckland City Hospital
Waikato Hospital 
International Hospitals
North District Hospital, Hong Kong
Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital, Hong Kong
Ruttonjee Hospital, Hong Kong

Last updated 09:10 1.03.2024