The aim of this systematic review was to provide an objective summary of the published literature pertaining to the use of stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) specific to previously untreated spinal metastases.
The authors performed a systematic review, using Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, of the literature found in a search of Medline, PubMed, Embase, and the Cochrane Library up to March 2015. The search strategy was limited to publications in the English language.
A total of 14 full-text articles were included in the analysis. All studies were retrospective except for 2 studies, which were prospective. A total of 1024 treated spinal lesions were analyzed. The median follow-up time ranged from 9 to 49 months. A range of dose-fractionation schemes was used, the most common of which were 16–24 Gy/1 fraction (fx), 24 Gy/2 fx, 24–27 Gy/3 fx, and 30–35 Gy/5 fx. In studies that reported crude results regarding in-field local tumor control, 346 (85%) of 407 lesions remained controlled. For studies that reported actuarial values, the weighted average revealed a 90% 1-year local control rate. Only 3 studies reported data on complete pain response, and the weighted average of these results yielded a complete pain response rate of 54%. The most common toxicity was new or progressing vertebral compression fracture, which was observed in 9.4% of cases; 2 cases (0.2%) of neurologic injury were reported.
There is a paucity of prospective data specific to SBRT in patients with spinal metastases not otherwise irradiated. This systematic review found that SBRT is associated with favorable rates of local control (approximately 90% at 1 year) and complete pain response (approximately 50%), and low rates of serious adverse events were found. Practice guidelines are summarized based on these data and International Stereotactic Radiosurgery Society consensus.