Mnemonic for Tumors that Metastasize to Bone

Tumors that metastasize to bone may be remembered using the mnemonic “lead kettle” spelled PBKTL (“Pb” from the Latin plumbum which is the periodic table name for Lead).

  • PB-KTL
  • P: prostate
  • B: breast
  • K: kidney
  • T: thyroid
  • L: lung
Tumors That Metastasize to Bone

For females, breast and lung are the most common primary sites; nearly 80% of cancers that spread to the skeleton are from these locations. In males, prostate and lung cancers make up 80% of carcinomas metastasizing to bone. The other 20% of primary disease sites in both sexes are: kidney, thyroid, gastrointestinal tract and other locations.

By knowing the typical behavior of the metastatic lesion – lytic or blastic – you can help sort between the types to make the mnemonic even more useful.

  • prostate = blastic/sclerotic (induces bone growth)
  • breast = mixed pattern
  • kidney, thyroid, lung = lytic (induces bone destruction)

Hope that mnemonic helped. Read more medical mnemonics here.

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