Image-guided ablation of painful metastatic bone tumors: a new and effective approach to a difficult problem

Skeletal Radiol. 2006 Jan;35(1):1-15. doi: 10.1007/s00256-005-0003-2. Epub 2005 Oct 5.


Painful skeletal metastases are a common problem in cancer patients. Although external beam radiation therapy is the current standard of care for cancer patients who present with localized bone pain, 20-30% of patients treated with this modality do not experience pain relief, and few further options exist for these patients. For many patients with painful metastatic skeletal disease, analgesics remain the only alternative treatment option. Recently, image-guided percutaneous methods of tumor destruction have proven effective for treatment of this difficult problem. This review describes the application, limitations, and effectiveness of percutaneous ablative methods including ethanol, methyl methacrylate, laser-induced interstitial thermotherapy (LITT), cryoablation, and percutaneous radiofrequency ablation (RFA) for palliation of painful skeletal metastases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bone Neoplasms / complications
  • Bone Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Bone Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Bone Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Osteotomy / trends*
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain / prevention & control*
  • Surgery, Computer-Assisted / trends*
  • Treatment Outcome