Article Abstract

External beam radiotherapy and bone metastases

Authors: Candice Johnstone, Stephen T. Lutz


Management of bone metastasis is a multi-disciplinary effort that involves coordination between several medical specialties. External beam radiation therapy (EBRT) remains a powerful and efficient method of palliating pain and preventing skeletal complications from osseous metastasis. The pain relief equivalence of various fractionation schemes, ranging from 8 Gy in a single dose to 30 Gy in 10 fractions, has been demonstrated in dozens of randomized clinical trials. Toxicity profiles are well established and the treatment is generally well tolerated. Radiopharmaceuticals and high-dose, stereotactic radiation therapy are adjuncts to EBRT whose role is being elucidated clinical trials. Multiple organizations have compiled guidelines and quality metrics to help refine the role of each modality in the management of painful osseous metastases.