Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1998 Dec 1;42(5):1127-32.

Clinical results of nonsurgical treatment for spinal metastases.

Author information

  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Nagoya University School of Medicine, Japan.



In contrast with many analyses of surgical treatment for spinal metastases, there have been only a few recent well-documented publications assessing nonsurgical treatment. This paper is a study of the outcome of nonsurgical therapy for metastatic tumors of the spine.


One hundred and one patients with spinal metastases were treated with radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy without surgical intervention between 1990 and 1995, in prospective analysis, and had follow-up for more than 24 months. This study included 59 men and 42 women with a mean age of 61 years (range: 14 to 81). Mean follow-up periods were 11 months for patients dying of the disease and 53 months for the survivors. Neurological status, pain relief, functional improvement, and cumulative survival rate were assessed.


Of the total treated, 67 patients (66%) were evaluated as being neurologically stable or improved after treatment. Pain relief was achieved in 67%, and 64% showed functional improvement. Primary lesion responsiveness to nonsurgical therapy influenced the survival, neurological recovery, pain control, and function. Neurological findings before therapy were useful in predicting ambulatory status after treatment.


Nonsurgical treatment was often successful when primary tumors had responsiveness to radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy. We found this to be evident even when neurological deficits were found, particularly in lumbar spines. Spinal metastases of tumors with less responsiveness, unless patients were neurologically intact, responded poorly to therapy. Most of the patients who were successfully treated enjoyed relief lasting nearly until death. Their functional ability was limited by general debility, rather than by local tumor regeneration.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk