Medline ® Abstract for Reference 59
of 'Systemic treatment for metastatic breast cancer: General principles'
Healing flare in skeletal metastases from breast cancer.
Janicek MJ, Hayes DF, Kaplan WD
PURPOSE: To identify the frequency, characteristics, and prognostic significance of scintigraphically detected healing flare in patients with breast cancer metastatic to bone.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Findings on bone scans and concomitant radiographs of 1,188 patients were reviewed. Bone metastases occurred in 426 patients. Outcomes of 101 patients (aged 21-71 years) with skeletal metastases were correlated with typical scintigraphic and radiographic features.
RESULTS: Healing flare with increased radiotracer uptake and radiographically demonstrated sclerotic changes in osteolytic or mixed skeletal metastases were prospectively identified in 12% of patients with skeletal metastases. Healing flare was detected 3.2 months +/- 1.4 after initiation of hormonal treatment or chemotherapy. Skeletal metastatic activity stabilized on bone scans within 6.2 months +/- 3.0. Patients with healing flare did not survive longer than patients without healing flare but with stable metastases after treatment (3.3 years +/- 2.0 vs 3.9 years +/- 1.6).
CONCLUSION: Scintigraphically detected healing flare represents a favorable response to therapy not associated with increased survival.
Department of Radiology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115.