Different dose fractionation irradiation schedules have been evaluated in a randomized Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) study to determine their palliative effectiveness in patients with osseous metastases. The frequency, promptness and duration of pain relief were utilized as measures of response. Ninety percent of patients experienced some relief of pain and 54% achieved eventual complete pain relief. Important prognosticators included the initial pain score and the site of the primary lesions. Administration of steroid or chemotherapy during the one-month on-study period did not influence the frequency of pain relief. The low-dose, short-course schedules were as effective as the high-dose protracted programs.