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Daniel M. Sciubba, Rafael De la Garza Ramos, C. Rory Goodwin, Nancy Abu-Bonsrah, Ali Bydon, Timothy F. Witham, Chetan Bettegowda, Ziya L. Gokaslan and Jean-Paul Wolinsky


The goal of this study was to investigate the local recurrence rate and long-term survival after resection of spinal sarcomas.


A retrospective review of patients who underwent resection of primary or metastatic spinal sarcomas between 1997 and 2015 was performed. Tumors were classified according to the Enneking classification, and resection was categorized as Enneking appropriate (EA) if the specimen margins matched the Enneking recommendation, and as Enneking inappropriate (EI) if they did not match the recommendation. The primary outcome measure for all tumors was overall survival; local recurrence was also an outcome measure for primary sarcomas. The association between clinical, surgical, and molecular (tumor biomarker) factors and outcomes was also investigated.


A total of 60 patients with spinal sarcoma were included in this study (28 men and 32 women; median age 38 years). There were 52 primary (86.7%) and 8 metastatic sarcomas (13.3%). Thirty-nine tumors (65.0%) were classified as high-grade, and resection was considered EA in 61.7% of all cases (n = 37). The local recurrence rate was 10 of 52 (19.2%) for primary sarcomas; 36.8% for EI resection and 9.1% for EA resection (p = 0.010). Twenty-eight patients (46.7%) died during the follow-up period, and median survival was 26 months. Overall median survival was longer for patients with EA resection (undefined) compared with EI resection (13 months, p < 0.001). After multivariate analysis, EA resection significantly decreased the hazard of local recurrence (HR 0.24, 95% CI 0.06–0.93; p = 0.039). Age 40 years or older (HR 4.23, 95% CI 1.73–10.31; p = 0.002), previous radiation (HR 3.44, 95% CI 1.37–8.63; p = 0.008), and high-grade sarcomas (HR 3.17, 95% CI 1.09–9.23; p = 0.034) were associated with a significantly increased hazard of death, whereas EA resection was associated with a significantly decreased hazard of death (HR 0.22, 95% CI 0.09–0.52; p = 0.001).


The findings in the present study suggest that EA resection may be the strongest independent prognostic factor for improved survival in patients with spinal sarcoma. Additionally, patients who underwent EA resection had lower local recurrence rates. Patients 40 years or older, those with a history of previous radiation, and those with high-grade tumors had an increased hazard of mortality in this study.

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Varun Puvanesarajah, Sheng-fu Larry Lo, Nafi Aygun, Jason A. Liauw, Ignacio Jusué-Torres, Ioan A. Lina, Uri Hadelsberg, Benjamin D. Elder, Ali Bydon, Chetan Bettegowda, Daniel M. Sciubba, Jean-Paul Wolinsky, Daniele Rigamonti, Lawrence R. Kleinberg, Ziya L. Gokaslan, Timothy F. Witham, Kristin J. Redmond and Michael Lim


The number of patients with spinal tumors is rapidly increasing; spinal metastases develop in more than 30% of cancer patients during the course of their illness. Such lesions can significantly decrease quality of life, often necessitating treatment. Stereotactic radiosurgery has effectively achieved local control and symptomatic relief for these patients. The authors determined prognostic factors that predicted pain palliation and report overall institutional outcomes after spine stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT).


Records of patients who had undergone treatment with SBRT for either primary spinal tumors or spinal metastases from June 2008 through June 2013 were retrospectively reviewed. Data were collected at the initial visit just before treatment and at 1-, 3-, 6-, and 12-month follow-up visits. Collected clinical data included Karnofsky Performance Scale scores, pain status, presence of neurological deficits, and prior radiation exposure at the level of interest. Radiation treatment plan parameters (dose, fractionation, and target coverage) were recorded. To determine the initial extent of epidural spinal cord compression (ESCC), the authors retrospectively reviewed MR images, assessed spinal instability according to the Bilsky scale, and evaluated lesion progression after treatment.


The study included 99 patients (mean age 60.4 years). The median survival time was 9.1 months (95% CI 6.9–17.2 months). Significant decreases in the proportion of patients reporting pain were observed at 3 months (p < 0.0001), 6 months (p = 0.0002), and 12 months (p = 0.0019) after treatment. Significant decreases in the number of patients reporting pain were also observed at the last follow-up visit (p = 0.00020) (median follow-up time 6.1 months, range 1.0–56.6 months). Univariate analyses revealed that significant predictors of persistent pain after intervention were initial ESCC grade, stratified by a Bilsky grade of 1c (p = 0.0058); initial American Spinal Injury Association grade of D (p = 0.011); initial Karnofsky Performance Scale score, stratified by a score of 80 (p = 0.002); the presence of multiple treated lesions (p = 0.044); and prior radiation at the site of interest (p < 0.0001). However, when multivariate analyses were performed on all variables with p values less than 0.05, the only predictor of pain at last follow-up visit was a prior history of radiation at the site of interest (p = 0.0038), although initial ESCC grade trended toward significance (p = 0.073). Using pain outcomes at 3 months, at this follow-up time point, pain could be predicted by receipt of radiation above a threshold biologically effective dose of 66.7 Gy.


Pain palliation occurs as early as 3 months after treatment; significant differences in pain reporting are also observed at 6 and 12 months. Pain palliation is limited for patients with spinal tumors with epidural extension that deforms the cord and for patients who have previously received radiation to the same site. Further investigation into the optimal dose and fractionation schedule are needed, but improved outcomes were observed in patients who received radiation at a biologically effective dose (with an a/b of 3.0) of 66.7 Gy or higher.