Aim: The study evaluates the therapeutic efficacy of Strontium-89-chloride (89Sr) and 186Re-1,1-hydroxyethylidene diphosphonate (186Re-HEDP) in the palliation of painful bone metastases from breast cancer.
Patients and methods: Fifty patients with painful multifocal bone metastases from breast cancer entered the study and were randomized into two groups according to the radiopharmaceutical used: 148 MBq 89Sr i.v. (Group A: 25 patients) and 1406 MBq 186Re-HEDP i.v. (Group B: 25 patients). Pain palliation was evaluated on the basis of the Wisconsin pain test improvement at two months and response was graded as complete, partial, minimal or absent. Hematological toxicity and side effects were reported according to WHO guidelines.
Results: The global response rate was 84% (21/25) for 89Sr and 92% (23/25) for 186Re-HEDP, respectively. The onset of pain palliation appeared significantly earlier in Group B (p < 0.0001). The duration of pain relief ranged from two months to 14 months (mean of 125 days with a median value of 120 days) in Group A and from one month to 12 months (mean of 107 days with a median value of 60 days) in Group B (p = 0.39). A moderate hematological toxicity was apparent in both groups. Platelet and white blood cell counts returned to baseline levels within 12 weeks after 89Sr administration and 6 weeks after 186Re-HEDP administration (p < 0.01).
Conclusions: Both 89Sr and 186Re-HEDP are effective and safe in bone pain palliation in breast cancer with the latter showing a significantly faster onset of pain relief.