Cochrane Summaries

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Radioisotopes to ease metastatic bone pain

Roqué i Figuls M, Martinez-Zapata MJ, Scott-Brown M, Alonso-Coello P
Published Online: 
6 July 2011

Pain is commonly experienced by people whose cancer has spread to their bones. There are several ways to treat this pain, including the administration of radioisotopes, which are chemical elements that emit radiation and act on the bone to reduce the effects of the cancer. This review looked at the effectiveness of radioisotopes for relieving pain, reducing patients' needs for conventional pain-killers, improvements in quality of life, and increased survival. There is some evidence that radioisotopes may give pain relief over one to six months, but the treatment also seemed to be associated with adverse effects, notably reducing blood cells (leucocytes). When comparing different radioisotopes or different doses of a radioisotope, we identified no conclusive differences.

This record should be cited as: 
Roqué i Figuls M, Martinez-Zapata MJ, Scott-Brown M, Alonso-Coello P. Radioisotopes for metastatic bone pain. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2011, Issue 7. Art. No.: CD003347. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003347.pub2
Assessed as up to date: 
10 June 2011