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Belfiore G, Tedeschi E, Ronza F M, Belfiore MP, Della Volpe T, Zeppetella G, Rotondo A
Correspondence: Dr Belfiore Giuseppe, email@example.com
Introduction In oncological patients, life quality can be greatly impaired by the presence of painful bone metastases, as standard forms of treatment often achieve inadequate palliation. The aim of our study was to evaluate the clinical efficacy of radiofrequency ablation (RFA) with respect to pain relief in patients with refractory bone metastases or who are ineligible to conventional treatments.
Methods 12 patients with 13 painful osteolytic skeletal metastases, and who were unresponsive to analgesic drug therapy, underwent one (seven lesions) or two (five lesions) RFA sessions under computed tomography (CT) guidance. The RFA procedure was completed in all patients without complications. One patient also received cementoplasty after the RFA procedure. To obtain semiquantitative pain scores, the brief pain inventory (BPI) was administered before treatment and during follow-up. The local effects of RFA were monitored for at least one year in eight of 12 patients with CT and/or magnetic resonance imaging.
Results Immediate pain relief after treatment was experienced by nine of 12 patients, but in two cases, pain recurred within the first week. Long-lasting palliation was obtained in seven of 12 patients. BPI mean scores for worst and average daily pain decreased from 7.7 and 5.0, respectively, at baseline, to 3.1 and 1.8, respectively, at one year. Imaging follow-up showed large areas of necrosis in nine of 12 lesions.
Conclusion In our preliminary experience, RFA showed good and long-lasting efficacy for pain control in bone metastases. A possible role of RFA as a coadjuvant palliative treatment in these cases is suggested.
Keywords: bone metastases, imaging-guided intervention, pain palliation, radiofrequency ablation, thermoablation
Singapore Med J 2008; 49(7):565-570