Report from The Guardian.
Instead, the Nobel foundation will present the £766,000 prize to the 87-year-old British writer in London, after medical advisers told her not to travel.
In London, Lessing's representative, Olivia Guest, confirmed the cancellation had "to do with her back".
Lessing had been invited to collect the award at the ceremony in Stockholm along with the Nobel winners in chemistry, physics, medicine and economics on December 10, the anniversary of the death of prize founder Alfred Nobel 1896.
The Nobel peace prize is presented in Oslo, Norway, on the same date.
Literature prize winners traditionally give a lecture in Stockholm before accepting the award.
Lessing's lecture would be prerecorded and shown at the academy on
December 7, the foundation said.
Guest said she hoped Lessing would be able to record her lecture in London, but added that
plans to do so "aren't set in stone".
The 2005 winner, Harold Pinter, stayed home in Britain because of poor health. In 2004, Austria's Elfriede Jelinek declined the invitation, saying she was "not in a
mental shape to withstand such ceremonies".
Jean-Paul Sartre, in 1964, is the only winner to have turned down the literature award