Randomized Pilot Study of 20 Gy in 5 Fractions versus 27 Gy in 3 Fractions Radiotherapy for Treating Painful Bone Metastases: A Single Institution Experience

Document Type : Research Articles


Department of Clinical Oncology, Kasr Al-Einy School of Medicine, Cairo University, Egypt.


Purpose: Radiotherapy is a very effective tool in the treatment of painful bone metastases. The aim of this study was to compare the palliative effect of radiotherapy between the standard fractionation schedule 20 Gy over 5 fractions (20Gy/5fr) and the high biological dose schedule 27 Gy over 3 fractions (27Gy/3fr) which is frequently used in Stereotactic body radio-surgery (SBRT). Methods: Patients were randomized to receive (20Gy/5fr)or (27Gy/3fr). The primary aim of the study was pain relief using the numeric rating scale (NRS), after three months of radiation therapy. Secondary end points include pain relief immediately after finishing radiation therapy (within one week), and narcotic relief after three months of radiation therapy. Results: Twenty-two patients with painful bone metastases were included. 12 patients received (20Gy/5fr) and 10 patients received (27Gy/3fr). Male patients were predominant on both arms (81.8%) with a mean age of 58 years [ranging between 19-72 years]. For pain relief after three months of radiation therapy, partial pain relief was documented in 9 patients (75%) with (20Gy/5fr) and in 8 patients (80%) with (27Gy/3fr) with a p- value of 0.6. Additionally, narcotic relief after three months was equal for both groups. For immediate pain relief, partial pain relief was seen in one patient (8%) with (20Gy/5fr) versus seven patients (70%) with (27Gy/3fr) with a p value of 0.06. The increase in immediate pain relief in the 27Gy arm was numerically but not statistically significant. Conclusion: SBRT and standard fractionation radiation therapy had equal effectiveness for pain relief, when the assessment was done after three months of radiation therapy. Interestingly, SBRT had a better immediate pain relief. 


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