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Open Access Highly Accessed Original research

Pain and quality of life in patients undergoing radiotherapy for spinal metastatic disease treatment

Edgar S Valesin Filho1, Luiz Carlos de Abreu2, Guilherme HV Lima1, Daniel IG de Cubero1, Fabrício H Ueno1, Gustavo SL Figueiredo1, Vitor E Valenti23, Carlos Bandeira de Mello Monteiro24, Rubens Wajnsztejn2, Edison N Fujiki12, Modesto Rolim Neto2 and Luciano M Rodrigues12*

Author Affiliations

1 Hospital Estadual Mário Covas, Santo André, SP, Brazil

2 Laboratório de Delineamento de Estudos e Escrita Científica. Departamento de Morfologia e Fisiologia, Faculdade de Medicina do ABC, Av. Príncipe de Gales, 821, 09060-650, Santo André, SP, Brazil

3 Faculdade de Filosofia e Ciências, Universidade Estadual Paulista, UNESP. Av. Hygino Muzzi Filho, 737, 17.525-900, Marília, SP, Brazil

4 Escola de Artes, Ciências e Humanidades da Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil

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International Archives of Medicine 2013, 6:6  doi:10.1186/1755-7682-6-6

Published: 18 February 2013



Radiotherapy is an important tool in the control of pain in patients with spinal metastatic disease. We aimed to evaluate pain and of quality of life of patients with spinal metastatic disease undergoing radiotherapy with supportive treatment.


The study enrolled 30 patients. From January 2008 to January 2010, patients selection included those treated with a 20 Gy tumour dose in five fractions. Patients completed the visual analogue scale for pain assessment and the SF-36 questionnaire for quality of life assessment.


The most frequent primary sites were breast, multiple myeloma, prostate and lymphoma. It was found that 14 spinal metastatic disease patients (46.66%) had restricted involvement of three or fewer vertebrae, while 16 patients (53.33%) had cases involving more than three vertebrae. The data from the visual analogue scale evaluation of pain showed that the average initial score was 5.7 points, the value 30 days after the end of radiotherapy was 4.60 points and the average value 6 months after treatment was 4.25 points. Notably, this final value was 25.43% lower than the value from the initial analysis. With regard to the quality of life evaluation, only the values for the functional capability and social aspects categories of the questionnaire showed significant improvement.


Radiotherapy with supportive treatment appears to be an important tool for the treatment of pain in patients with spinal metastatic disease.

Radiotherapy; Neoplasm metastasis; Quality of life