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Neurosurgery. 1984 Dec;15(6):820-7.

Spinal metastatic disease: analysis of factors determining functional prognosis and the choice of treatment.


The authors surveyed 31 surgical and radiotherapy series comprising over 2300 patients with spinal metastases to determine the influence of factors such as tumor biology and topography, pretreatment neurological status, the presence of a myelographic block, the progression rate of symptoms, and the general medical condition of the patient on both the functional prognosis and the choice of treatment. Both life expectancy and the functional results after therapy are mainly dependent on tumor biology, which in turn determines radiosensitivity. The remaining factors seem to have only complementary predictive power. Because radiotherapy has been found to be as effective as operation plus radiotherapy in the management of the majority of patients with spinal metastases, it is very important to improve the selection of surgical candidates (less than 42% of the total cases) to prevent unnecessary surgery-related morbidity and mortality. Factors considered important in the selection of therapy are the location of the tumor within the spinal canal, the neurological status at the time of treatment, and the systemic condition of the patient.

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