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Papers of the Week

Papers: 27 May 2023 - 2 Jun 2023


Animal Studies, Pharmacology/Drug Development

Cancer Pain

2023 May 21

Mar Drugs




Efficacy and Security of Tetrodotoxin in the Treatment of Cancer-Related Pain: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.


Huerta MÁ, de la Nava J, Artacho-Cordón A, Nieto FR


The pharmacological treatment of cancer-related pain is unsatisfactory. Tetrodotoxin (TTX) has shown analgesia in preclinical models and clinical trials, but its clinical efficacy and safety have not been quantified. For this reason, our aim was to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis of the clinical evidence that was available. A systematic literature search was conducted in four electronic databases (Medline, Web of Science, Scopus, and ClinicalTrials.gov) up to 1 March 2023 in order to identify published clinical studies evaluating the efficacy and security of TTX in patients with cancer-related pain, including chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain. Five articles were selected, three of which were randomized controlled trials (RCTs). The number of responders to the primary outcome (≥30% improvement in the mean pain intensity) and those suffering adverse events in the intervention and placebo groups were used to calculate effect sizes using the log odds ratio. The meta-analysis showed that TTX significantly increased the number of responders (mean = 0.68; 95% CI: 0.19-1.16, = 0.0065) and the number of patients suffering non-severe adverse events (mean = 1.13; 95% CI: 0.31-1.95, = 0.0068). However, TTX did not increase the risk of suffering serious adverse events (mean = 0.75; 95% CI: -0.43-1.93, = 0.2154). In conclusion, TTX showed robust analgesic efficacy but also increased the risk of suffering non-severe adverse events. These results should be confirmed in further clinical trials with higher numbers of patients.