Pain at tumor site after vinorelbine injection: Description of an unexpected side effect

M. Colleoni, F. Gaion, G. Vicario, P. Nelli, F. Pancheri, G. Sgarbossa, P. Manente

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims and background: Vinorelbine is a new semisynthetic vinka alkaloid that has demonstrated good tolerability and interesting activity in a large spectrum of solid tumors. It was the aim of this paper to report the presence of a rarely documented side effect. Methods: In our experience, 135 patients were treated with vinorelbine during the period 10/92 to 11/94 for a total of 1080 cycles. In 26% of the cycles, vinorelbine was administered in monochemotherapy and in 74% in polychemotherapy regimens. The dose of vinorelbine, administered in a weekly schedule, was 25 mg/m2 in 109 patients and 30 mg/m2 in 26 patients. In general, no analgesic premedication was used. Sixty-five patients had lung cancer, 45 had breast cancer, and 25 miscellaneous cancer. Only 4 patients had a previous history of neurotoxicity. Results: Ten patients (7%) had pain in the tumor site within a few minutes of the vinorelbine injection. According to WHO grade, 5 cases had moderate and 5 severe pain. Pain was always reversible. In 5 cases ketorolac was administered after pain detection with resolution of the symptoms; in 4 cases it was necessary to deliver buprenorphine. One patient was admitted to the coronary unit because a myocardial infarction was suspected after retrosternal pain and required i.v. morphine. Seven cases refused to continue the treatment, and 3 cases had no further problem after ketorolac premedication. Conclusions: Although rare, the presence of severe pain after vinorelbine injection may adversely affect the treatment course. Such data are helpful in the recognition and management of this reversible side effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-196
Number of pages3
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1995


  • chemotherapy
  • side effect
  • vinorelbine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research


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