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Ziya L. Gokaslan, Patricia L. Zadnik, Daniel M. Sciubba, Niccole Germscheid, C. Rory Goodwin, Jean-Paul Wolinsky, Chetan Bettegowda, Mari L. Groves, Alessandro Luzzati, Laurence D. Rhines, Charles G. Fisher, Peter Pal Varga, Mark B. Dekutoski, Michelle J. Clarke, Michael G. Fehlings, Nasir A. Quraishi, Dean Chou, Jeremy J. Reynolds, Richard P. Williams, Norio Kawahara and Stefano Boriani

OBJECT

A chordoma is an indolent primary spinal tumor that has devastating effects on the patient's life. These lesions are chemoresistant, resistant to conventional radiotherapy, and moderately sensitive to proton therapy; however, en bloc resection remains the preferred treatment for optimizing patient outcomes. While multiple small and largely retrospective studies have investigated the outcomes following en bloc resection of chordomas in the sacrum, there have been few large-scale studies on patients with chordomas of the mobile spine. The goal of this study was to review the outcomes of surgically treated patients with mobile spine chordomas at multiple international centers with respect to local recurrence and survival. This multiinstitutional retrospective study collected data between 1988 and 2012 about prognosis-predicting factors, including various clinical characteristics and surgical techniques for mobile spine chordoma. Tumors were classified according to the Enneking principles and analyzed in 2 treatment cohorts: Enneking-appropriate (EA) and Enneking-inappropriate (EI) cohorts. Patients were categorized as EA when the final pathological assessment of the margin matched the Enneking recommendation; otherwise, they were categorized as EI.

METHODS

Descriptive statistics were used to summarize the data (Student t-test, chi-square, and Fisher exact tests). Recurrence and survival data were analyzed using Kaplan-Meier survival curves, log-rank tests, and multivariate Cox proportional hazard modeling.

RESULTS

A total of 166 patients (55 female and 111 male patients) with mobile spine chordoma were included. The median patient follow-up was 2.6 years (range 1 day to 22.5 years). Fifty-eight (41%) patients were EA and 84 (59%) patients were EI. The type of biopsy (p < 0.001), spinal location (p = 0.018), and if the patient received adjuvant therapy (p < 0.001) were significantly different between the 2 cohorts. Overall, 58 (35%) patients developed local recurrence and 57 (34%) patients died. Median survival was 7.0 years postoperative: 8.4 years postoperative for EA patients and 6.4 years postoperative for EI patients (p = 0.023). The multivariate analysis showed that the EI cohort was significantly associated with an increased risk of local recurrence in comparison with the EA cohort (HR 7.02; 95% CI 2.96–16.6; p < 0.001), although no significant difference in survival was observed.

CONCLUSIONS

EA resection plays a major role in decreasing the risk for local recurrence in patients with chordoma of the mobile spine.

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Charles G. Fisher, Tony Goldschlager, Stefano Boriani, Peter Paul Varga, Laurence D. Rhines, Michael G. Fehlings, Alessandro Luzzati, Mark B. Dekutoski, Jeremy J. Reynolds, Dean Chou, Sigurd H. Berven, Richard P. Williams, Nasir A. Quraishi, Chetan Bettegowda and Ziya L. Gokaslan

Object

The National Institutes of Health recommends strategies to obtain evidence for the treatment of rare conditions such as primary tumors of the spine (PTSs). These tumors have a low incidence and are pathologically heterogeneous, and treatment approaches are diverse. Appropriate evidence-based care is imperative. Failure to follow validated oncological principles may lead to unnecessary mortality and profound morbidity. This paper outlines a scientific model that provides significant evidence guiding the treatment of PTSs.

Methods

A four-stage approach was used: 1) planning: data from large-volume centers were reviewed to provide insight; 2) recruitment: centers were enrolled and provided the necessary infrastructure; 3) retrospective stage: existing medical records were reviewed and completed with survival data; and 4) prospective stage: prospective data collection has been implemented. The AOSpine Knowledge Forum Tumor designed six modules: demographic, clinical, diagnostic, therapeutic, local recurrence, survival, and perioperative morbidity data fields and provided funding.

Results

It took 18 months to implement Stages 1–3, while Stage 4 is ongoing. A total of 1495 tumor cases were captured and diagnosed as one of 18 PTS histotypes. In addition, a PTS biobank network has been created to link clinical data with tumor pathology and molecular analysis.

Conclusions

This scientific model has not only aggregated a large amount of PTS data, but has also established an international collaborative network of spine oncology centers. Access to large volumes of data will generate further research to guide and enhance PTS clinical management. This model could be applied to other rare neoplastic conditions. Clinical trial registration no.: NCT01643174 (ClinicalTrials.gov).