Oncological outcomes for many malignant primary spinal tumors and isolated spinal metastases have been shown to correlate with extent of resection. For tumors with dural involvement, some authors have described spinal dural resection at the time of tumor resection in the interest of improving oncological outcomes. The complication profile associated with resection of the spinal dura for oncological purposes, however, and the relative influence of resecting tumor-involved dura on progression-free survival are not well defined. The authors performed a systematic review of the literature and identified cases in which the spinal dura was resected for oncological purposes in the interest of better understanding the associated risks and outcomes of this technique.
Electronic databases (PubMed/MEDLINE, Scopus) were systematically searched to identify studies that reported clinical and/or oncological outcomes of patients with malignant spinal neoplasms undergoing resection of tumor-involved dura at the time of surgical intervention.
Ten articles describing 15 patients were included in the analysis. The most common tumor histologies were chordoma (3/15, 20%), giant cell tumor (3/15, 20%), epithelioid sarcoma (2/15, 13.3%), osteosarcoma (2/15, 13.3%), and metastasis (2/15, 13.3%). Procedure-related complications were reported in 40% of patients. A trend was seen toward an increased complication rate in redo (66.7%) versus index (16.7%) operations, but this trend did not reach statistical significance (p = 0.24). New, unexpected postoperative neurological deficits were seen in 3 patients (of 14 reporting, 21.4%). A single patient experienced a profound, unexpected neurological deterioration (paraparesis/paraplegia) after surgery, which reportedly improved considerably at latest follow-up. Tumor recurrence was seen in 3 cases (of 12 reporting, 25%) at a mean of 28.34 ± 21.1 months postoperatively. The overall mean radiographic follow-up period was 49.6 ± 36.5 months.
Resection of the spinal dura for oncological purposes is rarely performed, although a limited number of reports and small series have demonstrated that it is feasible. Spinal dural resection is primarily performed in patients with isolated, primary spinal neoplasms with an intent to cure. The risk associated with spinal dura resection is nontrivial and the complication profile is significant. The influence of dural resection on oncological outcomes is not well defined, and further study is needed before definitive conclusions may be drawn regarding the oncological benefit of dural resection for any particular patient or pathology.