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Roman O. Kowalchuk, Michael R. Waters, K. Martin Richardson, Kelly Spencer, James M. Larner, William H. McAllister, Jason P. Sheehan, and Charles R. Kersh

OBJECTIVE

This study evaluated a large cohort of patients treated with stereotactic body radiation therapy for spinal metastases and investigated predictive factors for local control, local progression-free survival (LPFS), overall survival, and pain response between the different spinal regions.

METHODS

The study was undertaken via retrospective review at a single institution. Patients with a tumor metastatic to the spine were included, while patients with benign tumors or primary spinal cord cancers were excluded. Statistical analysis involved univariate analysis, Cox proportional hazards analysis, the Kaplan-Meier method, and machine learning techniques (decision-tree analysis).

RESULTS

A total of 165 patients with 190 distinct lesions met all inclusion criteria for the study. Lesions were distributed throughout the cervical (19%), thoracic (43%), lumbar (19%), and sacral (18%) spines. The most common treatment regimen was 24 Gy in 3 fractions (44%). Via the Kaplan-Meier method, the 24-month local control was 80%. Sacral spine lesions demonstrated decreased local control (p = 0.01) and LPFS (p < 0.005) compared with those of the thoracolumbar spine. The cervical spine cases had improved local control (p < 0.005) and LPFS (p < 0.005) compared with the sacral spine and trended toward improvement relative to the thoracolumbar spine. The 36-month local control rates for cervical, thoracolumbar, and sacral tumors were 86%, 73%, and 44%, respectively. Comparably, the 36-month LPFS rates for cervical, thoracolumbar, and sacral tumors were 85%, 67%, and 35%, respectively. A planning target volume (PTV) > 50 cm3 was also predictive of local failure (p = 0.04). Fewer cervical spine cases had disease with PTV > 50 cm3 than the thoracolumbar (p = 5.87 × 10−8) and sacral (p = 3.9 × 10−3) cases. Using decision-tree analysis, the highest-fidelity models for predicting pain-free status and local failure demonstrated the first splits as being cervical and sacral location, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

This study presents a novel risk stratification for local failure and LPFS by spinal region. Patients with metastases to the sacral spine may have decreased local control due to increased PTV, especially with a PTV of > 50 cm3. Multidisciplinary care should be emphasized in these patients, and both surgical intervention and radiotherapy should be strongly considered.

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Kyle M. Fargen, Brian L. Hoh, Gregory L. Fautheree, Walter R. Morgan, Gregory J. Velat, Michael F. Waters, and J Mocco

Stroke patients whose condition does not improve after intravenous administration of tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) may be candidates for endovascular intervention. Patients with new intracerebral hemorrhage noted during such interventions pose a difficult challenge to neurointerventionists and are often sequestered as treatment failures and deemed inappropriate for intraarterial recanalization efforts. The authors present a case in which aggressive intervention was performed despite evidence of contrast extravasation on preintervention angiography. This 37-year-old woman presented with an occlusion of the M1 segment of the left middle cerebral artery and a National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score of 24. She received intravenous tPA without improvement. Angiography revealed M1 thrombus as well as active contrast extravasation without arterial displacement. Thromboaspiration was performed in light of her known hemorrhage with excellent recanalization. Immediate postprocedure imaging demonstrated a large insular hematoma and emergent craniectomy and hematoma evacuation were performed. At 4 months' follow-up, the patient was living at home, was ambulating, and had excellent comprehension with mild expressive aphasia. There is little peer-reviewed data in the literature to aid in the decision-making process when contrast extravasation is recognized at the time of preinterevention angiography. Continuation of mechanical endovascular stroke intervention, in light of active contrast extravasation, may be warranted in young patients with major deficits and absence of arterial displacement or delayed global filling. Further thrombolytics are not advised. In select stroke patients, continuation of a planned attempt at mechanical recanalization without the further use of thrombolytics may be warranted in light of known intracerebral hemorrhage.