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Fewer higher dose radiation treatments reduce pain from spinal metastases effectively, new trial found

October 26, 2020

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Two treatments of higher dose radiation reduces pain from cancer that has spread to the spine better than conventional radiation, a Canadian-led trial has found.

In the randomized clinical trial, more than twice as many patients with spinal metastases treated with stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) reported being completely pain-free compared to patients treated with conventional radiation therapy.

SBRT delivers high-precision, external beam radiation right to the tumour, sparing healthy surrounding tissue.

Sunnybrook radiation oncologist Dr. Arjun Sahgal presented the trial’s findings today at the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) Annual Meeting.

“When cancer has spread to the spine, patients can be in debilitating pain, which can greatly harm their quality of life in what may be their final months,” said Dr. Sahgal, professor and deputy chief in the department of radiation oncology at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre of the University of Toronto. “No one should have to live with this type of pain, but until now there were few treatments options to manage that pain effectively. For patients with painful spinal metastases who meet the eligibility criteria, SBRT should be considered.”

This was a Canadian Clinical Trials Group trial.

Read ASTRO’s full news release.