Background and purpose: To investigate whether single-fraction radiotherapy is equal to multiple fractions in the treatment of painful metastases.
Patients and methods: The study planned to recruit 1000 patients with painful bone metastases from four Norwegian and six Swedish hospitals. Patients were randomized to single-fraction (8 Gy x 1) or multiple-fraction (3 Gy x 10) radiotherapy. The primary endpoint of the study was pain relief, with fatigue and global quality of life as the secondary endpoints.
Results: The data monitoring committee recommended closure of the study after 376 patients had been recruited because interim analyses indicated that, as in two other recently published trials, the treatment groups had similar outcomes. Both groups experienced similar pain relief within the first 4 months, and this was maintained throughout the 28-week follow-up. No differences were found for fatigue and global quality of life. Survival was similar in both groups, with median survival of 8-9 months.
Conclusions: Single-fraction 8 Gy and multiple-fraction radiotherapy provide similar pain benefit. These results, confirming those of other studies, indicate that single-fraction 8 Gy should be standard management policy for these patients.