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Radiol Med. 2012 Sep;117(6):1071-8. Epub 2012 May 14.

Rapid palliative radiotherapy unit: multidisciplinary management of bone metastases.

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Radiotherapy Department, Azienda Ospedaliera San Camillo-Forlanini, Rome, Italy.



The aim of this study was to highlight the advantages of rapid access to a palliative radiotherapy unit adopting a multidisciplinary approach to symptom management to relieve pain and improve quality of life in patients with bone metastases.


From January 2007 to December 2008, 142 oncological patients were treated with linear accelerator radiotherapy (RT) administered in a single 8-Gy fraction. The European Organization for Research and Treatment Quality of Life Questionnaire (EORTC QLQ-C30) was administered to each patient at admission and at subsequent intervals. A traditional simulator was used to define the correct patient setup, and all treatment plans were performed with a two-dimensional technique..


Ninety-six patients agreed to fill in the EORTC QLQ-C30 questionnaire; 80 actually completed it. Twelve weeks after RT, a reduction in pain level compared with baseline (T0) was recorded, which was classified as 1 in 36 patients (45%) and 2 in 44 patients (55%). Pain interference with daily activities was also recorded, with significantly reduced scores with respect to T0: 1 in eight patients (10%), 2 in 28 patients (35%) and 3 in 44 patients (55%); quality of life scores also improved with respect to T0: 2 in 28 patients (35%), 3 in 23 patients (29%), 4 in 22 patients (27%) and 5 in seven patients (9%).


The proposal for treating patients with painful bone metastases with a single 8-Gy fraction of RT, with all the procedures being performed on the same day, offers many advantages in terms of pain relief, quality of life and clinical management.

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