Osteolytic Bone metastases

Osteolytic Bone Metastases: A Review

Bone metastases, which are secondary malignant tumors that arise in the bone from cancer cells, are a common type of cancer spread. Osteolytic bone metastases are those in which the cancer causes the bone to break down, or “dissolve”. The following article will review the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of osteolytic bone metastases.


Osteolytic bone metastases are caused by a variety of types of cancer, including breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, and certain types of lymphoma and leukemia. When the cancer cells spread to the bones, they may create tumors or weaken the bones by breaking down bone tissue. This can cause the bone to become brittle and more prone to fractures.


Osteolytic bone metastases can often be detected through imaging tests such as X-rays or CT scans. A bone scan is sometimes used to look for areas of increased activity in the bone that could indicate metastases. If the physician suspects osteolytic bone metastases, a biopsy may be ordered to confirm the diagnosis. This involves obtaining a sample of the bone tissue to be examined under a microscope.


Treatment for osteolytic bone metastases typically involves a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and other medications, as well as symptomatic care. Surgery is sometimes used to remove the tumor or affected area of the bone, and radiation therapy may be used to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Chemotherapy may help to shrink tumors, slow the growth of the cancer, or relieve pain. Other medications, such as bisphosphonates, may be prescribed to help strengthen the bones and reduce the risk of fractures.

Symptomatic Care

In addition to the treatments mentioned above, symptomatic care and pain management are also important components of treatment for osteolytic bone metastases. Heat and cold therapy, massage, physical therapy, and other types of exercise may help to reduce pain and improve range of motion. Pain medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, opioids, and nerve-blocking agents, may also be prescribed.


Osteolytic bone metastases are a common type of cancer that is caused by a variety of cancers. Diagnosis of osteolytic bone metastases is typically done through imaging tests and a biopsy might be necessary. Treatment typically involves surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, medications, and symptomatic care. Pain management is also extremely important for patients with osteolytic bone metastases.