Patterns of Practice in Palliative Radiotherapy for Painful Bone Metastases: A Survey in Japan
To determine the current patterns of practice in Japan and to investigate factors that may make clinicians reluctant to use single-fraction radiotherapy (SF-RT).
Methods and Materials
Members of the Japanese Radiation Oncology Study Group (JROSG) completed an Internet-based survey and described the radiotherapy dose fractionation they would recommend for four hypothetical cases describing patients with painful bone metastasis (BM). Case 1 described a patient with an uncomplicated painful BM in a non-weight-bearing site from non-small-cell lung cancer. Case 2 investigated whether management for a case of uncomplicated spinal BM would be different from that in Case 1. Case 3 was identical with Case 2 except for the presence of neuropathic pain. Case 4 investigated the prescription for an uncomplicated painful BM secondary to oligometastatic breast cancer. Radiation oncologists who recommended multifraction radiotherapy (MF-RT) for Case 2 were asked to explain why they considered MF-RT superior to SF-RT.
A total of 52 radiation oncologists from 50 institutions (36% of JROSG institutions) responded. In all four cases, the most commonly prescribed regimen was 30 Gy in 10 fractions. SF-RT was recommended by 13% of respondents for Case 1, 6% for Case 2, 0% for Case 3, and 2% for Case 4. For Case 4, 29% of respondents prescribed a high-dose MF-RT regimen (e.g., 50 Gy in 25 fractions). The following factors were most often cited as reasons for preferring MF-RT: “time until first increase in pain” (85%), “incidence of spinal cord compression” (50%), and “incidence of pathologic fractures” (29%).
Japanese radiation oncologists prefer a schedule of 30 Gy in 10 fractions and are less likely to recommend SF-RT. Most Japanese radiation oncologists regard MF-RT as superior to SF-RT, based primarily on the time until first increase in pain.