Focused Ultrasound Therapy
Focused ultrasound is an early-stage, noninvasive, therapeutic technology with the potential to improve the quality of life and decrease the cost of care for patients with painful metastatic cancer to the bone. This novel technology focuses beams of ultrasound energy precisely and accurately on targets deep in the body without damaging surrounding normal tissue. Where the beams converge, the ultrasound produces precise ablation (thermal destruction of tissue) of the pain-producing nerves around the cancer metastases without surgery, resulting in a significant reduction in pain.
The primary options for treatment of painful bone metastases include radiation and medications. In some cases surgery is considered.
For certain patients, focused ultrasound could provide a noninvasive alternative to conventional therapy with less risk of complications and lower cost.
- It is a non-invasive, low-morbidity treatment that allows for a quick return to normal life (usually the next day).
- A single therapy session can provide rapid and durable resolution of bone metastasis pain.
- Focused ultrasound pain relief does not have the adverse side effects of pain medications
- It does not include radiation.
- If necessary, it can be repeated.
Regulatory Approval and Reimbursement
The following geographical regions have one or more focused ultrasound devices approved to treat painful bone metastases: USA (FDA), Europe (CE Mark), Korea (KFDA), Asia, Canada, Israel, India, Latin America and Russia.
Treatments are reimbursed in Italy and Germany. Most major health insurers in the US also cover focused ultrasound for bone metastases. In other countries, coverage may be available on a case-by-case or site basis.
For a full list of known bone metastases clinical trials, please see here.
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Bucknor MD, Goel H, Pasco C, Horvai AE, Kazakia GJ. Bone remodeling following MR-guided focused ultrasound: Evaluation with HR-pQCT and FTIR. Bone. 2019 Mar;120:347-353. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2018.11.009. Epub 2018 Nov 16. PMID: 30453088
Scipione R, Anzidei M, Bazzocchi A, Gagliardo C, Catalano C, Napoli A. HIFU for Bone Metastases and other Musculoskeletal Applications. Semin Intervent Radiol. 2018 Oct;35(4):261-267. doi: 10.1055/s-0038-1673363. Epub 2018 Nov 5. Review.
Bing F, Vappou J, de Mathelin M, Gangi A. Targetability of osteoid osteomas and bone metastases by MR-guided high intensity focused ultrasound (MRgHIFU). Int J Hyperthermia. 2018 Sep 13:1-9. doi: 10.1080/02656736.2018.1508758.
Chen ZQ, Wang CR, Ma XJ, Sun W, Shen JK, Sun MX, Fu ZZ, Hua YQ, Cai ZD. Evaluation of Quality of Life Using EORTC QLQ-BM22 in Patients with Bone Metastases after Treatment with Magnetic Resonance Guided Focused Ultrasound. Orthop Surg. 2018 Aug;10(3):264-271. doi: 10.1111/os.12383. Epub 2018 Jul 18.
Giles SL, Winfield JM, Collins DJ, Rivens I, Civale J, Ter Haar GR, deSouza NM. Value of diffusion-weighted imaging for monitoring tissue change during magnetic resonance-guided high-intensity focused ultrasound therapy in bone applications: an ex-vivo study. Eur Radiol Exp. 2018;2(1):10. doi: 10.1186/s41747-018-0041-x. Epub 2018 May 10.
Eisenberg E, Shay L, Keidar Z, Amit A, Militianu D. Magnetic Resonance-Guided Focused Ultrasound Surgery for Bone Metastasis: From Pain Palliation to Biological Ablation? J Pain Symptom Manage. 2018 Jul;56(1):158-162. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2018.04.002. Epub 2018 Apr 19.
Sharma KV, Yarmolenko PS, Eranki A, Partanen A, Celik H, Kim A, Oetgen M, Kim PCW. Magnetic Resonance Imaging-guided High-intensity Focused Ultrasound Applications in Pediatrics: Early Experience at Children's National Medical Center. Top Magn Reson Imaging. 2018 Feb;27(1):45-51.
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