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November 21, 1977

Bone Scans

JAMA. 1977;238(21):2264. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03280220032010

To the Editor. —  I wish to extend the arguments of Chayes and Meyer (238: 305-306, 1977) concerning the usefulness of bone scans in cancer patients by suggesting that the clinical implications of bone scans have yet to be exhausted.Recent reports indicate that positive bone scans may be helpful in determining prognosis in breast cancer.1,2 Bone scans can aid in the detection of other conditions besides osseous metastases, such as pulmonary calcification,3 soft tissue metastases,4 pulmonary osteoarthropathy,5 and other conditions6,7Bone scans may be used to assess the response of metastatic disease to treatment.8 While the condition of positive bone scan, negative roentgenograms, and lack of confirmation with bone biopsy may not always indicate osseous metastases, we have encountered patients whose bone scans reverted to normal as other measurable metastatic disease responded to systemic therapy.Further difficulties with the asymptomatic bone metastases have