Prevalence of undertreatment in cancer pain. A review of published literature

S. Deandrea, M. Montanari, L. Moja, G. Apolone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Pain is a major health care problem for patients with cancer: despite the existence of guidelines for cancer pain management, undertreatment is a widespread problem. Pain Management Indexes (PMIs) evaluate the congruence between the patient's reported level of pain and the intensity/strength of the analgesic therapy. Negative scores indicate inadequate prescriptions. Materials and methods: We conducted a Medline search using terms for 'pain management', 'index' or 'measure' to select studies which measured undertreatment in cancer settings. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression identified associations between independent predictors and high prevalence of undertreatment. Results: Among the 44 studies identified, 26 studies used the PMI as proposed by Cleeland. The range of negative PMI varied from 8% to 82% with a weighted mean value of 43%. In multivariate analyses, factors associated with negative PMI were date of publication before 2001, provenance from Europe or Asia and countries with a gross national income per capita

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1985-1991
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Oncology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Cancer pain
  • Palliative care
  • Quality of care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Hematology


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