Overview of diagnosis and management of metastatic disease to bone

Cancer Control. 2012 Apr;19(2):84-91. doi: 10.1177/107327481201900202.


Background: Bone metastases occur frequently in patients with advanced cancer and are a serious complication of cancer. The decision to treat is often individualized, based on each patient's clinical presentation, life expectancy, and quality of life.

Methods: We reviewed the current literature pertaining to management of metastatic disease to bone, and the medical, radiotherapeutic, and surgical treatment options for management of bone metastasis are discussed.

Results: Current management of skeletal metastasis includes analgesia, systemic therapy, radiation therapy, and surgery. We propose treatment algorithms for management of vertebral and nonvertebral bone metastases and suggest individualized interventions based on clinical presentation.

Conclusions: Management of bone metastases is complex and requires a multidisciplinary approach. The goal of treatment is often palliative, and intervention and treatment regimens should be individualized based on the specific clinical presentation of each patient.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bone Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Bone Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Bone Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Bone Neoplasms / therapy
  • Disease Management
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life
  • Radiography