Stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) has emerged as an important treatment option for spinal metastases from renal cell carcinoma (RCC) as a means to overcome RCC's inherent radioresistance. The authors reviewed the outcomes of SBRT for the treatment of RCC metastases to the spine at their institution, and they identified factors associated with treatment failure.
Fifty-seven patients (88 treatment sites) with RCC metastases to the spine received single-fraction SBRT. Pain relief was based on the Brief Pain Inventory and was adjusted for narcotic use according to the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group protocol 0631. Toxicity was scored according to Common Toxicity Criteria for Adverse Events version 4.0. Radiographic failure was defined as infield or adjacent (within 1 vertebral body [VB]) failure on follow-up MRI. Multivariate analyses were performed to correlate outcomes with the following variables: epidural, paraspinal, single-level, or multilevel disease (2–5 sites); neural foramen involvement; and VB fracture prior to SBRT. Kaplan-Meier analysis and Cox proportional hazards modeling were used for statistical analysis.
The median follow-up and survival periods were 5.4 months (range 0.3–38 months) and 8.3 months (range 1.5–38 months), respectively. The median time to radiographic failure and unadjusted pain progression were 26.5 and 26.0 months, respectively. The median time to pain relief (from date of simulation) and duration of pain relief (from date of treatment) were 0.9 months (range 0.1–4.4 months) and 5.4 months (range 0.1–37.4 months), respectively. Multivariate analyses demonstrated that multilevel disease (hazard ratio [HR] 3.5, p = 0.02) and neural foramen involvement (HR 3.4, p = 0.02) were correlated with radiographic failure; multilevel disease (HR 2.3, p = 0.056) and VB fracture (HR 2.4, p = 0.046) were correlated with unadjusted pain progression. One patient experienced Grade 3 nausea and vomiting; no other Grade 3 or 4 toxicities were observed. Twelve treatment sites (14%) were complicated by subsequent vertebral fractures.
Stereotactic body radiotherapy for RCC metastases to the spine offers fast and durable pain relief with minimal toxicity. Stereotactic body radiotherapy seems optimal for patients who have solitary or few spinal metastases. Patients with neural foramen involvement are at an increased risk for failure.