Most studies of prostate cancer have shown that strontium-89 chloride (89Sr) is effective in the palliation of metastatic bone pain, refractory to conventional analgesia. The aim of this study was to evaluate the usefulness of 89Sr for bone pain palliation in breast cancer patients. Forty women were treated with 148 MBq of 89Sr. Six patients were retreated, receiving two or more doses. The Karnofsky performance status was assessed and pain and analgesia were scored on scales of 9 and 5 points, respectively. The efficacy of 89Sr was evaluated at 3 months of treatment. The response was good in 60% of the patients and partial in 32%; there was no response in the remaining 8% (pre-treatment Karnofsky ≤60). The duration of the response was 120±143 days. In the patients retreated, the response was good in 83% and partial in 17%, without significant differences compared with the first dose, but the pre-treatment Karnofsky and the duration of the efficacy were lower (P<0.05). A transient and slight decrease of leukocyte and platelet counts after the first month of treatment with 89Sr was observed. In conclusion, breast cancer patients with metastatic bone pain can benefit from therapy with 89Sr. If necessary, the treatment may be repeated safely and with the same efficacy as is achieved after the first dose. A low functional performance status could be a cause of the lower effectiveness of 89Sr.
Department of 1Nuclear Medicine, 2Oncology and 3Radiotherapy, Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, Villarroel 170, 08036 Barcelona, Spain
*Author to whom all correspondence should be addressed.
Received 14 February 2000 and accepted 6 March 2000