MR-guided focused ultrasound surgery (MRgFUS) for the palliation of pain in patients with bone metastases--preliminary clinical experience

Ann Oncol. 2007 Jan;18(1):163-167. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdl335. Epub 2006 Oct 9.


Background: Magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound surgery (MRgFUS) is a noninvasive thermal ablation technique, shown to be clinically effective in the treatment of uterine fibroids and is being evaluated as a method of thermal ablation of benign and malignant breast tumors. To evaluate the safety and initial efficacy of MRgFUS for the palliation of pain caused by bone metastases, in patients for whom other treatments are either not effective or not feasible.

Materials and methods: Thirteen patients suffering from symptomatic bone metastases underwent MRgFUS procedure. Treatment safety was evaluated by assessing the incidence and severity of device-related complications up to 6 months after treatment. Effectiveness of pain palliation was evaluated by visual analog scale, pain questionnaires and changes in the patients' medication.

Results: Fifteen procedures were carried out. Mean follow-up was 59 days. Twelve patients received adequate treatment and were available for follow-up. Two patients died due to disease progression during the first month after treatment. No severe adverse events were recorded. The remaining 10 patients reported prolonged improvement in pain score and/or reduced analgesic dosage.

Conclusion: MRgFUS may provide a safe and effective noninvasive alternative for the palliation of pain, caused by bone metastases.

MeSH terms

  • Bone Neoplasms / secondary
  • Bone Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Pain Management*
  • Palliative Care*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonic Therapy*