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Michael W. Chan, Isabelle Thibault, Eshetu G. Atenafu, Eugene Yu, B. C. John Cho, Daniel Letourneau, Young Lee, Albert Yee, Michael G. Fehlings and Arjun Sahgal


The authors performed a pattern-of-failure analysis, with a focus on epidural disease progression, in patients treated with postoperative spine stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT).


Of the 70 patients with 75 spinal metastases (cases) treated with postoperative spine SBRT, there were 26 cases of local disease recurrence and 25 cases with a component of epidural disease progression. Twenty-four of the 25 cases had preoperative epidural disease with subsequent epidural disease progression, and this cohort was the focus of this epidural-specific pattern-of-failure investigation. Preoperative, postoperative, and follow-up MRI scans were reviewed, and epidural disease was characterized based on location according to a system in which the vertebral anatomy is divided into 6 sectors, with the anterior compartment comprising Sectors 1, 2, and 6, and the posterior compartment comprising Sectors 3, 4, and 5.


Patterns of epidural progression are reported specifically for the 24 cases with preoperative epidural disease and subsequent epidural progression. Epidural disease progression within the posterior compartment was observed to be significantly lower in those with preoperative epidural disease confined to the anterior compartment than in those with preoperative epidural disease involving both anterior and posterior compartments (56% vs 93%, respectively; p = 0.047). In a high proportion of patients with epidural disease progression, treatment failure was found in the anterior compartment, including both those with preoperative epidural disease confined to the anterior compartment and those with preoperative epidural disease involving both anterior and posterior compartments (100% vs. 73%, respectively). When epidural disease was confined to the anterior compartment on the preoperative and postoperative MRIs, no epidural disease progression was observed in Sector 4, which is the most posterior sector. Postoperative epidural disease characteristics alone were not predictive of the pattern of epidural treatment failure.


Reviewing the extent of epidural disease on preoperative MRI is imperative when planning postoperative SBRT. When epidural disease is confined to the anterior epidural sectors pre- and postoperatively, covering the entire epidural space circumferentially with a prophylactic “donut” distribution may not be needed.

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Isabelle Thibault, Ameen Al-Omair, Giuseppina Laura Masucci, Laurence Masson-Côté, Fiona Lochray, Renée Korol, Lu Cheng, Wei Xu, Albert Yee, Michael G. Fehlings, Georg A. Bjarnason and Arjun Sahgal


The aim of this study was to evaluate local control (LC) and the risk of vertebral compression fracture (VCF) after stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) in patients with renal cell cancer spinal metastases.


Prospectively collected data on 71 spinal segments treated with SBRT in 37 patients were reviewed. The median follow-up was 12.3 months (range 1.2–55.4 months). The LC rate was assessed based on each spinal segment treated and overall survival (OS) according to each patient treated. Sixty of 71 segments (85%) were radiation naive, 11 of 71 (15%) were previously irradiated, and 10 of 71 (14%) were treated with postoperative SBRT. The median SBRT total dose and number of fractions were 24 Gy and 2, respectively. The VCF analysis also included evaluation of the Spinal Instability Neoplastic Score criteria.


The 1-year OS and LC rates were 64% and 83%, respectively. Multivariate analysis identified oligometastatic disease (13 of 37 patients) as a positive prognostic factor (p = 0.018) for OS. Of 61 non-postoperative spinal segments treated, 10 (16%) developed VCFs; 3 of 10 were de novo VCFs and 7 of 10 occurred as progression of an existing VCF. The 1-year VCF-free probability rate was 82%. Multivariate analysis identified single-fraction SBRT and baseline VCF as significant predictors of SBRT-induced VCF (p = 0.028 and p = 0.012, respectively).


Spine SBRT yields high rates of local tumor control in patients with renal cell cancer. Baseline VCF and 18–24 Gy delivered in a single fraction were predictive of further collapse. Patients with oligometastatic disease may benefit most from such aggressive local therapy, given the prolonged survival observed.