Imaging response to systemic therapy for bone metastases

Eur Radiol. 2009 Oct;19(10):2495-507. doi: 10.1007/s00330-009-1443-1. Epub 2009 May 26.


In patients with osteotropic primary tumours such as breast and prostate cancer, imaging treatment response of bone metastases is essential for the clinical management. After treatment of skeletal metastases, morphological changes, in particular of bone structure, occur relatively late and are difficult to quantify using conventional X-rays, CT or MRI. Early treatment response in these lesions can be assessed from functional imaging techniques such as dynamic contrast-enhanced techniques by MRI or CT and by diffusion-weighted MRI, which are quantifiable. Among the techniques within nuclear medicine, PET offers the acquisition of quantifiable parameters for response evaluation. PET, therefore, especially in combination with CT and MRI using hybrid techniques, holds great promise for early and quantifiable assessment of treatment response in bone metastases. This review summarises the classification systems and the use of imaging techniques for evaluation of treatment response and suggests parameters for the early detection and quantification of response to systemic therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bone Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Bone Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Bone Neoplasms* / secondary
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods*
  • Humans
  • Prognosis
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antineoplastic Agents