Radiation Therapy Improves Pain and Quality of Life in Bone

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Rachel McDonald, MD(C)

Department of Radiation Oncology
Odette Cancer Centre
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Radiation treatment has been demonstrated in numerous studies to provide effective and timely pain relief to those suffering from painful bone metastases. However, as a palliative treatment, the goal should be not only to reduce pain but also to maintain and even improve quality of life. To date, studies have not effectively demonstrated this; most of these have included either small sample sizes or utilize questionnaires that aren’t tailored to the palliative cancer population with bone metastases.

We aimed to determine how soon after radiation treatment one can expect an improvement in quality of life. Our results showed that patients who had a pain response to radiation also had significantly greater improvements in pain, pain characteristics, functional interference, and psychosocial aspects of well-being at day 10 post-treatment. Further improvements in most domains of quality of life were found for responders at day 42.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Palliative treatment is that which focuses on improving quality of life and is important at any point in the disease trajectory, even alongside anticancer therapies. Ultimately, radiation treatment improves both pain and quality of life as early as 10 days following treatment. As such, it is crucial that all patients be offered radiation to painful bone metastases, including those with very limited expected survival.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: It is possible to demonstrate clinically significant changes as early as days 10 and 42 post treatment. Future research should utilize these time points as they are more relevant for those with poor prognosis compared to end points at 2 or 3 months.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
: We would like to thank the participation of all the patients and research teams. We have no disclosures.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.


McDonald R, Ding K, Brundage M, Meyer RM, Nabid A, Chabot P, Coulombe G, Ahmed S, Kuk J, Dar AR, Mahmud A, Fairchild A, Wilson CF, Wu JSY, Dennis K, DeAngelis C, Wong RKS, Zhu L, Chan S, Chow E. Effect of Radiotherapy on Painful Bone MetastasesA Secondary Analysis of the NCIC Clinical Trials Group Symptom Control Trial SC.23. JAMA Oncol. Published online February 09, 2017. 70

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