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Moaaz Soliman, Neil K. Taunk, Robert E. Simons, Joseph R. Osborne, Michelle M. Kim, Nicholas J. Szerlip, and Daniel E. Spratt

Spine stereotactic radiosurgery (SSRS) has recently emerged as an increasingly effective treatment for spinal metastases. Studies performed over the past decade have examined the role of imaging in the diagnosis of metastases, as well as treatment response following SSRS. In this paper, the authors describe and review the utility of several imaging modalities in the diagnosis of spinal metastases and monitoring of their response to SSRS. Specifically, we review the role of CT, MRI, and positron emission tomography (PET) in their ability to differentiate between osteoblastic and osteolytic lesions, delineation of initial bony pathology, detection of treatment-related changes in bone density and vertebral compression fracture after SSRS, and tumor response to therapy. Validated consensus guidelines defining the imaging approach to SSRS are needed to standardize the diagnosis and treatment response assessment after SSRS. Future directions of spinal imaging, including advances in targeted tumor-specific molecular imaging markers demonstrate early promise for advancing the role of imaging in SSRS.

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Jonathan E. Leeman, Mark Bilsky, Ilya Laufer, Michael R. Folkert, Neil K. Taunk, Joseph R. Osborne, Julio Arevalo-Perez, Joan Zatcky, Kaled M. Alektiar, Yoshiya Yamada, and Daniel E. Spratt

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to report the first detailed analysis of patterns of failure within the spinal axis of patients treated with stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) for sarcoma spine metastases.

METHODS

Between 2005 and 2012, 88 consecutive patients with metastatic sarcoma were treated with SBRT for 120 spinal lesions. Seventy-one percent of patients were enrolled on prospective institutional protocols. For patients who underwent routine posttreatment total-spine MRI (64 patients, 88 lesions), each site of progression within the entire spinal axis was mapped in relation to the treated lesion. Actuarial rates of local-, adjacent-, and distant-segment failure-free survival (FFS) were calculated using the Kaplan-Meier method.

RESULTS

The median follow-up for the cohort was 14.4 months, with 81.7% of patients followed up until death. The 12-month actuarial rate of local FFS was 85.9%; however, 83.3% of local failures occurred in conjunction with distant-segment failures. The 12-month actuarial rates of isolated local-, adjacent-, and distant-segment FFS were 98.0%, 97.8%, and 74.7%, respectively. Of patients with any spinal progression (n = 55), only 25.5% (n = 14) had progression at a single vertebral level, with 60.0% (n = 33) having progression at ≥ 3 sites within the spine simultaneously. Linear regression analysis revealed a relationship of decreasing risk of failure with increasing distance from the treated index lesion (R2 = 0.87), and 54.1% of failures occurred ≥ 5 vertebral levels away. Treatment of the index lesion with a lower biological effective dose (OR 3.2, 95% CI 1.1–9.2) and presence of local failure (OR 18.0, 95% CI 2.1–152.9) independently predicted for distant spine failure.

CONCLUSIONS

Isolated local- and adjacent-segment failures are exceptionally rare for patients with metastatic sarcoma to the spine treated with SBRT, thereby affirming the treatment of the involved level only. The majority of progression within the spinal axis occurs ≥ 5 vertebral levels away. Thus, total-spine imaging is necessary for surveillance posttreatment.

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Timothy J. Yee, Yamaan S. Saadeh, Michael J. Strong, Ayobami L. Ward, Clay M. Elswick, Sudharsan Srinivasan, Paul Park, Mark E. Oppenlander, Daniel E. Spratt, William C. Jackson, and Nicholas J. Szerlip

OBJECTIVE

Decompression with instrumented fusion is commonly employed for spinal metastatic disease. Arthrodesis is typically sought despite limited knowledge of fusion outcomes, high procedural morbidity, and poor prognosis. This study aimed to describe survival, fusion, and hardware failure after decompression and fusion for spinal metastatic disease.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively examined a prospectively collected, single-institution database of adult patients undergoing decompression and instrumented fusion for spinal metastases. Patients were followed clinically until death or loss to follow-up. Fusion was assessed using CT when performed for oncological surveillance at 6-month intervals through 24 months postoperatively. Estimated cumulative incidences for fusion and hardware failure accounted for the competing risk of death. Potential risk factors were analyzed with univariate Fine and Gray proportional subdistribution hazard models.

RESULTS

One hundred sixty-four patients were identified. The mean age ± SD was 62.2 ± 10.8 years, 61.6% of patients were male, 98.8% received allograft and/or autograft, and 89.6% received postoperative radiotherapy. The Kaplan-Meier estimate of median survival was 11.0 months (IQR 3.5–37.8 months). The estimated cumulative incidences of any fusion and of complete fusion were 28.8% (95% CI 21.3%–36.7%) and 8.2% (95% CI 4.1%–13.9%). Of patients surviving 6 and 12 months, complete fusion was observed in 12.5% and 16.1%, respectively. The estimated cumulative incidence of hardware failure was 4.2% (95% CI 1.5–9.3%). Increasing age predicted hardware failure (HR 1.2, p = 0.003).

CONCLUSIONS

Low rates of complete fusion and hardware failure were observed due to the high competing risk of death. Further prospective, case-control studies incorporating nonfusion instrumentation techniques may be warranted.