A single treatment of 8 gray (Gy--a unit of measure of absorbed radiation dose) of radiation appears to be as effective in palliating painful bone metastases as the current U.S. standard treatment course of 30 Gy delivered in 10 daily treatments, according to a new study in the June 1 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Patients with a variety of solid tumor cancers, including lung, breast, and prostate, can develop painful metastases in the bones of the spine, pelvis, and extremities. Although the standard treatment, radiation therapy delivered in 10 daily sessions, is effective in providing relief--50% to 80% of patients experience improvement in their pain, and 20% to 50% have complete pain relief--a shorter course of treatment would be easier for patients and their families to arrange and would also have less impact on the timing of other treatments.
To determine whether a shorter course of radiation is equivalent to the standard treatment, William F. Hartsell, M.D., of Lutheran General Cancer Center in Park Ridge, Ill., and colleagues randomly assigned nearly 900 patients with breast or prostate cancer who had one to three sites of painful bone metastases to receive either 8 Gy of radiation in one treatment session or 30 Gy of radiation in 10 daily treatment sessions.
Sarah L. Zielinski | EurekAlert!
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