Comparison of Single Versus Multifraction Radiotherapy in Palliation of Painful Bone Metastases

Anthialisha Nongkynrih, Anil Kumar Dhull, Vivek Kaushal, Rajeev Atri, Rakesh Dhankhar, Karun Kamboj


Background: Bone is a common site of dissemination in advanced cancer accounting for one-third of all distant metastases. Various fractionation schedules of radiotherapy have been used for palliation of bone metastases. The aim of this study was to compare three schedules of external radiation therapy (8 Gy single session versus 20 Gy/5 fractions versus 30 Gy/10 fractions) for palliative management of bone metastases.

Methods: In the present study, 60 patients of bone metastases from any primary site were enrolled and randomly divided into three groups of 20 patients each by draw of lots. These patients received palliative external beam radiation therapy to the involved site. Patients were given 8 Gy single session, 20 Gy/5 fractions/1 week and 30 Gy/10 fractions/2 weeks in groups I, II and III, respectively.

Results: The percentage of patients with overall pain relief was 80% in group I, 75% in group II and 85% in group III (P = 0.7). The number of patients with complete pain relief was 4 (20%) in each group. Maximum patients got pain relief at 4 weeks post-radiotherapy. The number of patients with improved performance status was 4 (20%) in group II and 2 (10%) each in groups I and III (P = 0.5). Thirteen (65%) patients in each of the groups had decreased analgesic requirement at 2-month follow-up. Retreatment rate was more in the single fraction (20%) compared to only 5% in group II and none in the group III (P = 0.05).

Conclusion: From the present study we conclude that 8 Gy single fraction is as effective as multifraction radiotherapy for the palliation of painful bone metastases. However, for a center like ours being the only Government Tertiary Cancer Care Centre in the State, general consensus drawn after this study, recommends external radiation therapy 20 Gy/5 fraction regimen to be an appropriate means of palliation of painful bone metastases.

World J Oncol. 2018;9(3):91-95


Bone metastases; Palliative radiation therapy; Fractionation; Pain palliation

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