Clinical study| Volume 62, P66-71, April 2019

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A systematic review of interventions and outcomes in lung cancer metastases to the spine

  • V. Armstrong
    Department of Neurological Surgery and the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL, USA
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  • N. Schoen
    Corresponding author at: Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, 1150 NW 14th St., Miami, FL 33136, USA.
    Department of Neurological Surgery and the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL, USA
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  • K. Madhavan
    Department of Neurological Surgery and the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL, USA
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  • S. Vanni
    Department of Neurological Surgery and the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL, USA
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Published:January 14, 2019DOI:


      • Metastatic lung cancer holds a poor prognosis with high morbidity and mortality.
      • No significance was found in primary cancer type nor number of vertebral levels.
      • Non-operative treatments may have a significant survival advantage over surgery.
      • Less aggressive approaches may be beneficial for lung cancer spinal metastases.


      Seventy percent of cancer patients will have metastatic bone disease, most commonly in the vertebra. Prognosis of metastatic lung cancer is poor and treatment is mostly palliative. To-date, there is no systematic review on the ideal treatment for lung cancer with spinal metastases in regards to mortality. Literature searches were performed based on PRISMA guidelines for systematic review. Thirty-nine studies comprising 1925 patients treated for spinal metastases of lung cancer met inclusion criteria. All analyses were performed using SAS and SPSS. Data were analyzed for meaningful comparisons of baseline patient characteristics, primary cancer type, metastatic lesion characteristics, treatment modality, and clinical and radiologic outcomes. Significantly greater mean survival length was seen in the non-surgical group (8.5 months, SD 6.6, SEM 0.17) compared to the surgical group (7.5 months, SD 4.5, SEM 0.25; p = 0.013). There was no statistically significant survival difference between different types of primary lung cancer: NSCLC (8.3 months, SD 13.8, SEM 0.91) and SCLC (7.0 months, SD 4.6, SEM 0.46; p = 0.36). Number of vertebral levels involved per lesion also did not exhibit significant difference: single lesion (11.3 months, SD 6.8, SEM 2.2) and multiple lesions (13.8 months, SD 15.7, SEM 3.6; p = 0.64). For patients with symptomatic spinal metastases from lung cancer, non-operative approaches experience significantly better survival outcomes (p = 0.013). Future clinical studies are needed to determine the best treatment algorithm to help maximize outcomes and minimize mortality in metastatic lung cancer.


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