Determinants of Opioid Efficiency in Cancer Pain: a Comprehensive Multivariate Analysis from a Tertiary Cancer Centre

  • Goksu, Sema Sezgin (Kayseri State Hospital of Research and Education, Department of Medical Oncology) ;
  • Bozcuk, Hakan (Akdeniz University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Oncology) ;
  • Uysal, Mukremin (Afyon Kocatepe University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Oncology) ;
  • Ulukal, Ece (Akdeniz University, Faculty of Medicine) ;
  • Ay, Seren (Akdeniz University, Faculty of Medicine) ;
  • Karasu, Gaye (Akdeniz University, Faculty of Medicine) ;
  • Soydas, Turker (Akdeniz University, Faculty of Medicine) ;
  • Coskun, Hasan Senol (Akdeniz University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Oncology) ;
  • Ozdogan, Mustafa (Akdeniz University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Oncology) ;
  • Savas, Burhan (Akdeniz University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Oncology)
  • Published : 2014.11.28


Background: Pain is one of the most terrifying symptoms for cancer patients. Although most patients with cancer pain need opioids, complete relief of pain is hard to achieve. This study investigated the factors influencing persistent pain-free survival (PPFS) and opioid efficiency. Materials and Methods: A prospective study was conducted on 100 patients with cancer pain, hospitalized at the medical oncology clinic of Akdeniz University. Patient records were collected including patient demographics, the disease, treatment characteristics, and details of opioid usage. Pain intensity was measured using a patient self-reported visual analogue scale (VAS). The area under the curve (AUC) reflecting the pain load was calculated from daily VAS tables. PPFS, the primary measure of opioid efficacy, was described as the duration for which a patient reported a greater than or equal to two-point decline in their VAS for pain. Predictors of opioid efficacy were analysed using a multivariate analysis. Results: In the multivariate analysis, PPFS was associated with the AUC for pain (Exp (B)=0.39 (0.23-0.67), P=0.001), the cumulative opioid dosage used during hospitalisation (Exp (B)=1.00(0.99-1.00), P=0.003) and changes in the opioid dosage (Exp (B)=1.01 (1.00-1.01), P=0.016). The change in VAS score over the standard dosage of opioids was strongly associated with current cancer treatment (chemotherapy vs. others) (${\beta}=-0.31$, T=-2.81, P=0.007) and the VAS for pain at the time of hospitalisation (${\beta}=-0.34$, T=-3.07, P= 0.003). Conclusions: The pain load, opioid dosage, concurrent usage of chemotherapy and initial pain intensity correlate with the benefit received from opioids in cancer patients.


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