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Stereotactic Radiosurgery For Spinal Metastases: A Literature Review

Andrei Fernandes Joaquim, Enrico Ghizoni, Helder Tedeschi, Eduardo Baldon Pereira, Leonardo Abdala Giacomini

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OBJECTIVE: The spine is the most common location for bone metastases. Since cure is not possible, local control and relief of symptoms is the basis for treatment, which is grounded on the use of conventional radiotherapy. Recently, spinal radiosurgery has been proposed for the local control of spinal metastases, whether as primary or salvage treatment. Consequently, we carried out a literature review in order to analyze the indications, efficacy, and safety of radiosurgery in the treatment of spinal metastases. METHODS: We havereviewed the literature using the PubMed gateway with data from the MEDLINE library on studies related to the use of radiosurgery in treatment of bone metastases in spine. The studies were reviewed by all the authors and classified as to level of evidence, using the criterion defined by Wright. RESULTS: The indications found for radiosurgery were primary control of epidural metastases (evidence level II), myeloma (level III), and metastases known to be poor responders to conventional radiotherapy - melanoma and renal cell carcinoma (level III). Spinal radiosurgery was also proposed for salvage treatment after conventional radiotherapy (level II). There is also some evidence as to the safety and efficacy of radiosurgery in cases of extramedullar and intramedullar intradural metastatic tumors (level III) and after spinal decompression and stabilization surgery. CONCLUSION: Radiosurgery can be used in primary or salvage treatment of spinal metastases, improving local disease control and patient symptoms. It should also be considered as initial treatment for radioresistant tumors, such as melanoma and renal cell carcinoma.