Study: Stereotactic Body Radiosurgery for Metastatic Spinal Tumors

An explanation

Spine TumorMetastatic spinal tumors are cancerous tumors that have spread to the spine, usually from the lung, breast, or prostate. These tumors make up approximately 70% of all spinal tumors. In a study from the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, researchers looked at how well stereotactic body radiosurgery (SBRS) treated patients with these types of tumors.

Stereotactic body radiosurgery is a recent and emerging form of stereotactic radiosurgery, which uses sophisticated technology to administer radiation. This technique uses a specially targeted x-ray beam that delivers radiation therapy in a single or small number of sessions.

This study is based on 121 patients who had cancer that had traveled to the spine. The patients were treated with stereotactic body radiosurgery. A year after surgery, the researchers checked in with the patients and found that the surgery had worked very well for many of the patients.

The most encouraging result was in the progression free survival rates. That refers to the presence—but not the progression—of cancer. For patients in this study, the progression free survival rates were 90% six months after surgery and 84% a year after surgery.

In other words, six months after having stereotactic body radiosurgery, the cancer in 90% of the patients didn't get worse; it didn't progress and spread more. And even a year after surgery, the progression free survival rate was 84%—still a very good result.

The surgery also reduced—and even eliminated—common symptoms associated with the patients' conditions, such as fatigue, sleep disturbances, and pain. For many patients, pain significantly limits how much they can enjoy life: how well they sleep, what activities they can do, and even how much they can be around other people.

This study found the number of patients who were completely pain free doubled between three months after the surgery and six months after.

Overall, researchers found that stereotactic body radiosurgery is a safe and effective treatment for patients with spinal metastatic tumors.

Updated on: 02/03/16
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