The role of tapentadol in cancer pain pharmacotherapy in patients with metastatic malignant disease

Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2023 Dec;27(24):12112-12120. doi: 10.26355/eurrev_202312_34809.


Objective: The aim of this study was to establish the effects of prolonged formulation of tapentadol in combination with palliative radiotherapy on bone metastatic changes in oncology patients with primary breast cancer and proven bone metastases.

Patients and methods: The research was conducted as a prospective study at the Clinic for Oncology, University Clinical Center Nis, Nis, Serbia, during a three-month interval of monitoring the patients. The first group comprised 30 patients with mentioned malignancy for which tapentadol was prescribed, and they underwent palliative radiotherapy for bone metastatic changes. The second group comprised 30 patients with the same disease treated only with pain relief radiotherapy to metastatic changes. All the patients were interviewed using the Pain Detect questionnaire.

Results: Significantly more patients from the first group had severe pain in comparison to patients from the control group (χ2=16.596; p<0.001) at the second measurement and also at the third measurement (χ2=15.357; p<0.001). At the third measurement, pain with a neuropathic component was significantly more present in patients from the control group (χ2=8.541; p=0.014). There was a significant pain reduction in both groups - Tapentadol group (χ2=59.513; p<0.001) and control group (χ2=60.000; p<0.001) - and also a significant reduction of neuropathic pain component: Tapentadol group (χ2=56.267; p<0.001) and control group (χ2=60,000; p<0.001). There was a statistically significant positive correlation between tapentadol dose and pain intensity according to the numerical pain scale at all three measurements.

Conclusions: Tapentadol prolonged-release formulation is an effective pharmacotherapy solution, along with palliative radiotherapy, for pain relief in patients with skeletal metastatic breast cancer. Palliative radiotherapy in these patients does not provide adequate neuropathic pain component relief.

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use
  • Breast Neoplasms* / chemically induced
  • Breast Neoplasms* / complications
  • Breast Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Cancer Pain* / drug therapy
  • Chronic Pain* / drug therapy
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain* / diagnosis
  • Neuralgia* / drug therapy
  • Phenols / therapeutic use
  • Prospective Studies
  • Tapentadol


  • Tapentadol
  • Phenols
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Analgesics, Opioid