The Role of Radiation Treatment in the Contemporary Management of Bone Tumors

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  • 1 From the Department of Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland.

Radiotherapy is integral in the multidisciplinary approach to patients with musculoskeletal neoplasms. Multiple studies have established a role for radiotherapy as a definitive local treatment of unresectable lesions or when surgery might yield unacceptable functional outcomes, such as in Ewing's tumor or base of skull chondrosarcoma. Radiotherapy is also used as an adjuvant treatment after surgery with close or positive margins. In the metastatic setting, external beam radiotherapy and bone-seeking intravenous radioisotopes are used on a case-by-case basis for palliation. As radiotherapy and its delivery techniques have evolved, so has its role in treating tumors such as Ewing's sarcoma, chordoma and chondrosarcoma, osteosarcoma, primary lymphoma of bone, malignant fibrous histiocytoma of bone, and vascular tumors. Radiation can also be successfully used to treat unresectable or recurrent benign tumors, such as giant cell tumor and aneurysmal bone cyst. This article reviews the indications for radiotherapy for various bone tumors and summarizes some of the important data supporting its use.

Correspondence: Deborah A. Frassica, MD, Department of Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, 401 North Broadway, Suite 1440, Baltimore, MD 21231. E-mail: frassde@jhmi.edu
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