MRI-Guided Focused Ultrasound of Osseous Metastases: Treatment Parameters Associated With Successful Pain Reduction

Invest Radiol. 2021 Mar 1;56(3):141-146. doi: 10.1097/RLI.0000000000000721.


Background: A phase 3 multicenter trial demonstrated that magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-guided focused ultrasound (US) is a safe, noninvasive treatment that alleviated pain from bone metastases. However, outcomes varied among institutions (from 0%-100% treatment success).

Purpose: The aim of this study was to identify patient selection, technical treatment, and imaging parameters that predict successful pain relief of osseous metastases after MRI-guided focused US.

Materials and methods: This was a secondary analysis of a phase 3 clinical study that included participants who received MRI-guided focused US treatment for painful osseous metastases. Noncontrast CT was obtained before treatment. T2-weighted and T1-weighted postcontrast MRIs at 1.5 T or 3 T were obtained before, at the time of, and at 3 months after treatment. Numerical Rating Scale pain scores and morphine equivalent daily dose data were obtained over a 3-month follow-up period. At the 3-month endpoint, participants were categorized as pain relief responders or nonresponders based on Numerical Rating Scale and morphine equivalent daily dose data. Demographics, technical parameters, and imaging features associated with pain relief were determined using stepwise univariable and multivariable models. Responder rates between the subgroup of participants with all predictive parameters and that with none of the parameters were compared using Fisher exact test.

Results: The analysis included 99 participants (mean age, 59 ± 14 years; 56 women). The 3 variables that predicted successful pain relief were energy density on the bone surface (EDBS) (P = 0.001), the presence of postprocedural periosteal devascularization (black band, BB+) (P = 0.005), and female sex (P = 0.02). The subgroup of participants with BB+ and EDBS greater than 5 J/mm2 had a larger decrease in mean pain score (5.2; 95% confidence interval, 4.6-5.8) compared with those without (BB-, EDBS ≤ 5 J/mm2) (1.1; 95% confidence interval, 0.8-3.0; P < 0.001). Participants with all 3 predictive variables had a pain relief responder rate of 93% compared with 0% in participants having none of the predictive variables (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: High EDBS during treatment, postprocedural periosteal devascularization around the tumor site (BB+), and female sex increased the likelihood of pain relief after MRI-guided focused US of osseous metastasis.

Trial registration: NCT00656305.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Bone Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Female
  • High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound Ablation*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Treatment Outcome

Associated data