Palliative radiotherapy for symptomatic osseous metastases

N. Shigematsu, H. Ito, K. Toya, W. Ko, S. Kutsuki, N. Tsukamoto, A. Kubo, T. Dokiya, A. Yorozu

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Bone metastases are one of the most common and serious conditions requiring radiotherapy, but there is still a considerable lack of agreement on optimal radiation schedule. We analyzed patients with symptomatic osseous metastases from lung (72 patients) and breast (63 patients) carcinoma treated by palliative radiotherapy between 1983 and 1992. In this series, the incidences of symptomatic bone metastases appearing within 2 years after the first diagnosis of the primary lesion were 96% and 36% for lung and breast carcinomas, respectively. Thirty percent of bone metastases from breast carcinoma were diagnosed more than 5 years after the first diagnosis. Thus careful follow-up must be carried out for a prolonged period. Pain relief was achieved at almost the same rate for bone metastases from lung and breast carcinomas (81% and 85%, respectively), an the rapid onset of pain relief (15 Gy or less) was obtained in about half the patients for both diseases. The rapid onset of pain relief and the lack of association between the onset of pain relief and primary tumor argued against the conventional theory that tumor shrinkage is a component of the initial response. In contrast to the fact that almost all lung carcinoma patients had very poor prognoses, one third of the breast carcinoma patients were alive more than 2 years after palliative radiotherapy. Thus, the late effects of radiation, such as radiation myelopathy, must be always considered especially in breast carcinoma patients even when it is 'just' palliative radiotherapy for bone metastases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)677-681
Number of pages5
JournalNippon Igaku Hoshasen Gakkai zasshi. Nippon acta radiologica
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1995 Aug

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Oncology


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