Randomized Double-Blind Trial of Pregabalin Versus Placebo in Conjunction With Palliative Radiotherapy for Cancer-Induced Bone Pain

Marie Fallon, Peter J. Hoskin, Lesley A. Colvin, Susan M. Fleetwood-Walker, Dougal Adamson, Anthony Byrne, Gordon D. Murray, Barry J.A. Laird

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Purpose: Cancer-induced bone pain (CIBP) affects one third of patients with cancer. Radiotherapy remains the gold-standard treatment; however, laboratory and clinical work suggest that pregabalin may be useful in treating CIBP. The aim of this study was to examine pregabalin in patients with CIBP receiving radiotherapy.

Patients and Methods: A multicenter, double-blind randomized trial of pregabalin versus placebo was conducted. Eligible patients were age ≥ 18 years, had radiologically proven bone metastases, were scheduled to receive radiotherapy, and had pain scores ≥ 4 of 10 (on 0-to-10 numeric rating scale). Before radiotherapy, baseline assessments were completed, followed by random assignment. Doses of pregabalin and placebo were increased over 4 weeks. The primary end point was treatment response, defined as a reduction of ≥ 2 points in worst pain by week 4, accompanied by a stable or reduced opioid dose, compared with baseline. Secondary end points assessed average pain, interference of pain with activity, breakthrough pain, mood, quality of life, and adverse events.

Results: A total of 233 patients were randomly assigned: 117 to placebo and 116 to pregabalin. The most common cancers were prostate (n = 88; 38%), breast (n = 77; 33%), and lung (n = 42; 18%). In the pregabalin arm, 45 patients (38.8%) achieved the primary end point, compared with 47 (40.2%) in the placebo arm (adjusted odds ratio, 1.07; 95% CI, 0.63 to 1.81; P = .816). There were no statistically significant differences in average pain, pain interference, or quality of life between arms. There were differences in mood (P = .031) and breakthrough pain duration (P = .037) between arms. Outcomes were compared at 4 weeks.

Conclusion: Our findings do not support the role of pregabalin in patients with CIBP receiving radiotherapy. The role of pregabalin in CIBP with a clinical neuropathic pain component is unknown.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)550-556
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number6
Early online date7 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2016

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Aged
  • Analgesics
  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Bone and Bones
  • Breakthrough Pain
  • Chemoradiotherapy
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms
  • Pain Management
  • Pain Measurement
  • Palliative Care
  • Pregabalin
  • Quality of Life
  • Journal Article
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


Dive into the research topics of 'Randomized Double-Blind Trial of Pregabalin Versus Placebo in Conjunction With Palliative Radiotherapy for Cancer-Induced Bone Pain'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this