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Metastatic Bone Disease Patients Can Walk in Lazarus' Footsteps
Date:3/9/2009

i.

Metastatic bone disease is a painful condition that can develop in conjunction with cancers of the breast, bladder, kidney, lung or other organs. It occurs when cancer cells at an original site metastasize or travel to the bone. These metastases can become widespread throughout the skeletal system. Some bone metastases become painful because the tumor eats away at the bone (ostelolysis), creating holes that make the bone thin and weak. As the bones are replaced with tumor, nerve endings in and around the bone send pain signals to the brain and the bone loses its functional strength. If left untreated, bone metastases can eventually cause the bone to fracture and seriously affect a patient's quality of life. Each year, about 100,000 cases of bone metastasis are reported in the United States.

In treating cancer patients with painful bone metastases, interventional radiologists may also use radiofrequency ablation (RFA) or cryoablation. These treatments use heat or cold to desensitize the bone by killing the nerve endings in the vicinity of the metastasis. Once the nerve endings are dead, interventional radiologists can perform osteoplasty. Osteoplasty involves the injection of semi-liquid bone cement (in this case, polymethyl-methacrylate or PMMA) into a bone lesion under constant and precise visual monitoring by CT or digital fluoroscopy imaging. The technique is similar to vertebroplasty, an interventional radiology treatment that has been used extensively in the spine to treat the pain of compression fractures.

In the study, the average pain intensity score for patients based on the 11-point visual analog scale dropped significantly from 8.8 +/1.4 to 1.8 +/2.1 within 24 hours of osteoplasty, said Anselmetti. "These patients experienced immediate and substantial pain relief. They did not require pain medication during the time of follow-up, and there were no clinically significant complications," said Anselmetti.
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SOURCE Society of Interventional Radiology
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