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Comparison of Various Radiotherapy Dose Fractionation Schedules in Palliation of Bone Metastasis
Introduction Bone metastasis is a common manifestation of malignancy. Bone metastases causes various morbidities and affect the quality of life. External beam radiotherapy is the mainstay of treatment of uncomplicated painful bone metastases. Different radiotherapy fractionation schedules are in practice for palliation of painful bone metastases.
Objectives This study was aimed to compare and report the outcomes of various fractionation schedules of radiation therapy (RT) in terms of pain relief and quality of life in patients with painful bone metastases.
Materials and Methods Eighty patients were randomized into four treatment arms with different RT fractionation schedules, namely, 8 Gy in 1 fraction, 20 Gy in 5 fractions, 24 Gy in 6 fractions, and 30 Gy in 10 fractions. Patients were assessed for pain by visual analog scale (VAS), performance status and quality of life before initiating the treatment, on the day of completion of treatment, and 1 week, 1 month, and 3 months of treatment completion.
Results Majority of the metastases constituted from breast followed by lung cancer. Of these, 27.5% had metastases to the thoracic vertebra, 26.25% to the lumbar vertebra, 22.5% to the pelvis, 8.75% to the sternum, 6.25% each to cervical vertebra and femur, and 1.25% each to humerus and ribs. The mean VAS score prior to start of RT was 5.31, 5.21, 5.54, and 4.87 in arms A, B, C, and D, respectively. At the end of treatment, the scores were 3.0, 3.29, 2.77, and 2.47, respectively. At the end of 3 months, the scores were 1.54, 0.57, 0.54, and 0.60, respectively. The pain reduction was significant in all the four arms (p < 0.05). Also, 25% of the patients’ arm A had complete pain relief, whereas 45% of patients in arms B, C, and D had complete pain relief. In arm A, the performance status failed to improve at 3 months when compared with 1-week post-RT but the improvement was significant in the remaining three arms. There was improvement in the quality of life in all the arms, both in terms of function and symptoms. The mean score of symptomatic quality of life based on the EORTC BM22 module prior to start of RT was 38.14, 34.91, 28.85, and 29.17 in arms A, B, C, and D, respectively. There was a significant drop to 9.29, 6.55, 5.13, and 6.11 at 1-month posttreatment in the four arms, respectively. The outcomes in terms of functional quality of life showed a similar trend.
Conclusion This study demonstrated that pain reduction by various RT fractionation schedules were similar, and no statistically significant difference was noted. Performance status and quality of life improved in all the four treatment arms post-RT.
Article published online:
13 August 2021
© 2021. Indian Society of Medical and Paediatric Oncology. This is an open access article published by Thieme under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonDerivative-NonCommercial-License, permitting copying and reproduction so long as the original work is given appropriate credit. Contents may not be used for commercial purposes, or adapted, remixed, transformed or built upon. (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
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