Pregabalin is not effective for cancer-induced bone pain compared with placebo in patients receiving radiotherapy, a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology has shown.1

Radiotherapy is the gold standard for the treatment of cancer-induced bone pain, which impacts one-third of patients with cancer. However, previous research has indicated that pregabalin may be useful for treatment cancer-induced bone pain, as well. Therefore, researchers sought to compare pregabalin with placebo in conjunction with radiotherapy.

For the multicenter, double-blind study, researchers enrolled 233 patients with radiologically proven bone metastases who were scheduled to receive radiotherapy and had pain scores between 4 and 10 on a pain scale. The most common types of cancer were prostate, breast, and lung. Patients were randomly assigned 1:1 to receive increasing doses of pregabalin over 4 weeks or placebo.

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Results showed that 38.8% of patients in the pregabalin group achieved a treatment response, defined as a reduction of 2 or more points in worst pain by week 4 with a stable or reduced opioid dose, compared with 40.2% of patients in the placebo arm (adjusted OR, 1.07; 95% CI: 0.63-1.81; P = .816).

Researchers found no significant differences in average pain, pain interference, or quality of life between the 2 treatment arms; however, there were significant differences in mood (P = .031) and breakthrough pain duration (P = .037).

The investigators note that the role of pregabalin in cancer-induced bone pain with a clinical neuropathic pain component remains unknown.


1. Fallon M, Hoskin PJ, Colvin LA, et al. Randomized double-blind trial of pregabalin versus placebo in conjunction with palliative radiotherapy for cancer-induced bone pain [published online ahead of print on December 7, 2015]. J Clin Oncol. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2015.63.8221.