Internal and Emergency Medicine

, Volume 5, Supplement 1, pp 31–35

Management of cancer pain

Symposium: Managing of Complications in Patients with Cancer

DOI: 10.1007/s11739-010-0448-8

Cite this article as:
Mercadante, S. Intern Emerg Med (2010) 5: 31. doi:10.1007/s11739-010-0448-8


In the last decades, studies validating the WHO analgesic ladder have been shown to have methodological limitations and different problems are unresolved due to a lack of controlled studies on this subject. These problems include a better definition of the role of NSAIDs, the prolonged use of NSAIDs in cancer pain, and the utility of step 2. Moreover, the indications for using different strong opioids and alternate routes of administration to improve pain relief in difficult pain situations are not well established. The proportion of patients who do not benefit from these treatments remain unclear, and how the opioid response may be improved with the use of adjuvants is also uncertain. This review will offer an update on these problems and the existing therapeutic opportunities.


Cancer painOpioidsRoutes of adminsitrationWHO method

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© SIMI 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Anesthesia and Intensive Care Unit, Pain Relief and Palliative Care UnitLa Maddalena Cancer CenterPalermoItaly