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Short-course radiotherapy effective for painful vertebral bone metastases

Courtesy of the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group

-added 06/04/09

Philadelphia, PA - A single high dose of radiotherapy is as effective in relieving the pain from vertebral bone metastases as 10 smaller treatments, according to new research from the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) that will be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting in Orlando on May 31, 2009. RTOG, an NCI-funded national clinical trials group, is a clinical research component of the American College of Radiology.

RTOG researchers previously reported that breast and prostate cancer patients with painful bone metastases who received a single radiotherapy treatment of 8 Gy had the same pain relief and narcotic use three months after treatment as patients who received 10 radiotherapy treatments each consisting of 3 Gy for a total of 30 Gy. They also found that patients who received the 8 Gy regimen reported fewer side effects, although those patients did have to be retreated more often than patients who received the higher dose.

In order to evaluate the effectiveness of short course radiotherapy in patients with painful vertebral bone metastases, the RTOG investigators examined a 235-patient subset of the 909 patients entered on the original study, RTOG 9714. The RTOG researchers found the short course to be equally effective as the longer course (8 Gy vs. 30 Gy) showing no statistically significant difference in pain relief (70 percent vs. 62 percent) or narcotic use (27 percent vs. 24 percent) at three months.

"It is exciting to confirm that we can provide the same amount of pain relief for patients suffering with vertebral bone metastases with only one visit to their radiation oncologist as we have been providing with 10 visits," relates David D. Howell, M.D., the lead author of the analysis from the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor. "With fewer side-effects and comparable pain relief, the single-dose treatment is very much appreciated, especially for patients who have already completed one or more courses of treatment for their primary disease."

Citation: ASCO Abstract #9521, Randomized trial of short-course versus long-course radiotherapy for palliation of painful vertebral bone metastases: A retrospective analysis of RTOG 97-14, is available as well.

Information about RTOG is available at www.rtog.org.

In addition to Howell, authors include: J. James, Radiation Therapy Oncology Group, Philadelphia; W. F. Hartsell, Good Samaritan Cancer Center, Downers Grove, Ill.; M. Suntharalingam, University of Maryland, Baltimore; M. Machtay, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia; J. H. Suh, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio; W. F. Demas, Akron City Hospital, Akron, Ohio; H. M. Sandler, Cedars-Sinai Health System, Los Angeles; L. A. Kachnic, Boston Medical Center, Boston; L. B. Berk,Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, Fla. The research was funded by National Cancer Institute grants CA21661 and CA37422.

The Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) is administered by the AmericanCollege of Radiology (ACR), and located in the ACRCenter for Clinical Research in Philadelphia, PA. RTOG is a multi-institutional international clinical cooperative group funded primarily by National Cancer Institute grants CA21661 and CA37422. RTOG has 40 years of experience in conducting clinical trials and is comprised of over 300 major research institutions in the United States, Canada, and internationally. The group currently is currently accruing to 40 studies that involve radiation therapy alone or in conjunction with surgery and/or chemotherapeutic drugs or which investigate quality of life issues and their effects on the cancer patient.

The AmericanCollege of Radiology (ACR) is a national professional organization serving more than 32,000 radiologists, radiation oncologists, interventional radiologists and medical physicists with programs focusing on the practice of radiology and the delivery of comprehensive health care services.


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Written by Nicole Fawcett


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Please Note: The articles listed in the Cancer Center's News Archive are here for historical purposes. The information and links may no longer be up-to-date.