A Promising Alternative to Radiation Therapy for Bone Metastases

Results of a new phase III clinical trial published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI) found that non-invasive magnetic resonance guided focused ultrasound treatment can reduce pain and improve function in patients with bone metastases. The therapy works by targeting and heating tumor tissue within the bone, and may be especially helpful in situations where more commonly used radiation therapy is not an option.

Magnetic resonance guided focused ultrasound surgery (MRgFUS) is a technique that has been safely used to treat thousands of women with uterine fibroids. This phase III study was the first to investigate its application to the management of pain from cancer. The study involved a total of 147 patients who were randomized to undergo MRgFUS or a placebo treatment. 64 percent of MRgFUS recipients reported either no pain or a significant reduction in their pain at three months. Many patients were able to reduce or stop use of opioid medications. Most patients experienced pain relief and improved functioning within several days of treatment. Read a news story about the study findings here.

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