Samarium Sm-153 lexidronam for the palliation of bone pain associated with metastases

Cancer. 2000 Jun 15;88(12 Suppl):2934-9. doi: 10.1002/1097-0142(20000615)88:12+<2934::aid-cncr9>;2-s.


Background: In patients with bone pain due to metastatic disease, intravenous systemic radioisotope therapy may be a useful adjunct to other methods for palliating pain.

Methods: Various studies have been performed utilizing a short-lived radioisotope conjugated to a tetraphosphonate (samarium 153 lexidronam) both as an open label and as a double blinded, placebo-controlled study. Patients with varying tumor types including those of the prostate, breast, lung, and other sites were studied. Two dose levels were used (0.5 millicuries (mCi)/kg and 1.0 mCi/kg) with patients monitored for 16 weeks for efficacy (pain scores, opiod analgesic score, and quality of life) parameters and adverse events.

Results: All 3 studies showed that at the 1.0 mCi/kg dose level statistically significant improvement over placebo was observed by 4 weeks with relief of pain noted in many patients by 1 week. The only significant adverse event was transient myelosuppression with a nadir at 4-6 weeks and recovery by 8 weeks. Less than 10% of patients had National Cancer Institute Common Toxicity Criteria Grade III/IV bone marrow toxicity recorded.

Conclusions: Systemic metabolic radiotherapy with samarium 153 lexidronam appears to be a safe and efficacious method for treating patients with bone pain. The shorter radioisotope half-life allows for a high dose rate to be delivered over a short period, which may have certain biologic benefits.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bone Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Bone Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Bone Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Pain Management*
  • Palliative Care*
  • Samarium / adverse effects
  • Samarium / pharmacokinetics
  • Samarium / therapeutic use*


  • Samarium