Pilot evaluation of scrambler therapy for pain induced by bone and visceral metastases and refractory to standard therapies

1.11 SUPPORT CARE CANCER ottobre 2015  DOI10.1007/s00520-015-2952-x

Notaro P1,2, Dell’Agnola CA3, Dell’Agnola AJ3, Amatu A4, Bencardino KB4, Siena S4.

  • 1Pain Medicine, Dipartimento di Anestesiologia- Ospedale Niguarda Ca’ Granda, Milano, Italy. paolo.notaro@ospedaleniguarda.it.
  • 2Dipartimento di Terapia del dolore, Ospedale Niguarda Ca’ Granda, Piazza Ospedale Maggiore, 3-20162, Milano, Italy. paolo.notaro@ospedaleniguarda.it.
  • 3Pain Medicine, Dipartimento di Anestesiologia- Ospedale Niguarda Ca’ Granda, Milano, Italy.
  • 4Dipartimento di Ematologia e Oncologia, Niguarda Cancer Center, Ospedale Niguarda Ca’ Granda, Milano, Italy.


(Purpose) Scrambler therapy is a non-invasive neurocutaneous electrical pain intervention, effective for the treatment of neuropathic pain. Currently, few data about the efficacy of this treatment in cancer pain induced by skeletal and visceral metastases are available. The aim of this single-center case series is to evaluate the efficacy of scrambler therapy in reducing this kind of cancer pain after failure of standard treatments, including pharmacological therapies and radiation therapy. (Methods) Twenty-five consecutive patients underwent scrambler therapy individually delivered by MC5-A Calmare for 10 daily sessions each of 30-40 min. Pain was measured by a numeric rating scale at baseline, as well as before and after each treatment session. (Results) One hundred percent of patients reached a pain relief ≥50 %. Pain score was reduced from 8.4 at baseline to 2.9 after treatment, with a mean pain relief of 89 %. The sleeping hours improved from 4.4 ± 1.2 to 7.5 ± 1.1. The duration of pain control by scrambler therapy was 7.7 ± 5.3 weeks. No adverse events were observed. (Conclusion) Scrambler therapy does not present toxicity and allows opioids dosage reduction, and it is also a repeatable treatment. Present novel data support that scrambler therapy seems to be effective for the treatment of cancer pain. Further evaluation in randomized and controlled clinical trials should be performed to confirm our findings.


Calmare®; Electroanalgesia; Metastatic bone and visceral pain; Scrambler therapy; Untreatable cancer pain

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