The role of radiation therapy in controlling painful bone metastases

Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2012 Aug;16(4):300-6. doi: 10.1007/s11916-012-0271-1.


The management of painful bone metastases requires multidisciplinary care, with external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) providing relief that is effective and time efficient. Patients with bone metastases may require interventions including surgical decompression, osteoclast inhibitors, radiopharmaceuticals, and kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty, though EBRT should be included in the care of most of these patients, as well. Recent treatment-guideline publications for bone metastases greatly define the appropriate use of EBRT for this patient group, and they create a means by which treatment approaches may serve as quality measures of radiotherapy departments.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bone Neoplasms / complications*
  • Bone Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Bone Neoplasms / secondary
  • Bone Neoplasms / surgery
  • Bone Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Decompression, Surgical
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Female
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pain / etiology*
  • Pain Clinics / organization & administration
  • Pain Management / methods*
  • Palliative Care / methods
  • Patient Selection
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / therapeutic use
  • Vertebroplasty


  • Radiopharmaceuticals