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Kari Hanson, Carly Isder, Kristen Shogren, Anthony L. Mikula, Lichun Lu, Michael J. Yaszemski, and Benjamin D. Elder

OBJECTIVE

The use of intrawound vancomycin powder in spine surgery has been shown to decrease the rate of surgical site infections; however, the optimal dose is unknown. High-dose vancomycin inhibits osteoblast proliferation in vitro and may decrease the rate of solid arthrodesis. Bone marrow–derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) are multipotent cells that are a source of osteogenesis in spine fusions. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of vancomycin on rat BMSC viability and differentiation in vitro.

METHODS

BMSCs were isolated from the femurs of immature female rats, cultured, and then split into two equal groups; half were treated to stimulate osteoblastic differentiation and half were not. Osteogenesis was stimulated by the addition of 50 µg/mL l-ascorbic acid, 10 mM β-glycerol phosphate, and 0.1 µM dexamethasone. Vancomycin was added to cell culture medium at concentrations of 0, 0.04, 0.4, or 4 mg/mL. Early differentiation was determined by alkaline phosphatase activity (4 days posttreatment) and late differentiation by alizarin red staining for mineralization (9 days posttreatment). Cell viability was determined at both the early and late time points by measurement of formazan colorimetric product.

RESULTS

Viability within the first 4 days decreased with high-dose vancomycin treatment, with cells receiving 4 mg/mL vancomycin having 40%–60% viability compared to the control. A gradual decrease in alizarin red staining and nodule formation was observed with increasing vancomycin doses. In the presence of the osteogenic factors, vancomycin did not have deleterious effects on alkaline phosphatase activity, whereas a trend toward reduced activity was seen in the absence of osteogenic factors when compared to osteogenically treated cells.

CONCLUSIONS

Vancomycin reduced BMSC viability and impaired late osteogenic differentiation with high-dose treatment. Therefore, the inhibitory effects of high-dose vancomycin on spinal fusion may result from both reduced BMSC viability and some impairment of osteogenic differentiation.

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Independent predictors of vertebral compression fracture following radiation for metastatic spine disease

Presented at the 2022 AANS/CNS Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves

Anthony L. Mikula, Zach Pennington, Nikita Lakomkin, Michelle J. Clarke, Peter S. Rose, Mohamad Bydon, Brett Freedman, Arjun S. Sebastian, Lichun Lu, Roman O. Kowalchuk, Kenneth W. Merrell, Jeremy L. Fogelson, and Benjamin D. Elder

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this study was to determine independent risk factors for vertebral compression fracture (VCF) following radiation for metastatic spine disease, including low bone mineral density as estimated by Hounsfield units (HU).

METHODS

A retrospective chart review identified patients with a single vertebral column metastasis treated with radiation therapy, a pretreatment CT scan, and a follow-up CT scan at least 6 weeks after treatment. Patients with primary spine tumors, preradiation vertebroplasty, preradiation spine surgery, prior radiation to the treatment field, and proton beam treatment modality were excluded. The HU were measured in the vertebral bodies at the level superior to the metastasis, within the tumor and medullary bone of the metastatic level, and at the level inferior to the metastasis. Variables collected included basic demographics, Spine Instability Neoplastic Score (SINS), presenting symptoms, bone density treatment, primary tumor pathology, Weinstein-Boriani-Biagini (WBB) classification, Enneking stage, radiation treatment details, chemotherapy regimen, and prophylactic vertebroplasty.

RESULTS

One hundred patients with an average age of 63 years and average follow-up of 18 months with radiation treatment dates ranging from 2017 to 2020 were included. Fifty-nine patients were treated with external-beam radiation therapy, with a median total dose of 20 Gy (range 8–40 Gy). Forty-one patients were treated with stereotactic body radiation therapy, with a median total dose of 24 Gy (range 18–39 Gy). The most common primary pathologies included lung (n = 22), prostate (n = 21), and breast (n = 14). Multivariable logistic regression analysis (area under the curve 0.89) demonstrated pretreatment HU (p < 0.01), SINS (p = 0.02), involvement of ≥ 3 WBB sectors (p < 0.01), primary pathology other than prostate (p = 0.04), and ongoing chemotherapy treatment (p = 0.04) to be independent predictors of postradiation VCF. Patients with pretreatment HU < 145 (n = 32), 145–220 (n = 31), and > 220 (n = 37) had a fracture rate of 59%, 39%, and 11%, respectively. An HU cutoff of 157 was found to maximize sensitivity (71%) and specificity (75%) in predicting postradiation VCF.

CONCLUSIONS

Low preradiation HU, higher SINS, involvement of ≥ 3 WBB sectors, ongoing chemotherapy, and nonprostate primary pathology were independent predictors of postradiation VCF in patients with metastatic spine disease. Low bone mineral density, as estimated by HU, is a novel and potentially modifiable risk factor for VCF.