Treating Cancers that Metastasize to the Spine

Treatment modalities commonly used for spinal metastases are radiation therapy (RT) and surgery. Targeted immunotherapies are on the rise with the advent of biologics and check point inhibitors. In some cases, patients may receive more than one therapy to treat their spinal metastases.1

The majority of hospitals will involve a multidisciplinary team to build a comprehensive treatment regimen. This team will work with you closely to develop a personalized plan based on your condition, tumor type and optimal treatment methods.

The goal of radiation therapy is to deliver enough treatment dose to kill tumor cells, while allowing the healthy tissues and organs like the spinal cord to recover in between sessions. Your doctor may prescribe a single dose of radiation—stereotactic radiosurgery—or fractionated radiation therapy. This treatment method may be used because the effective dose needed to treat your tumor is too high for the surrounding organs to withstand all at once.

Stereotactic radiosurgery has transformed spine mets treatment paradigms. Technologies and techniques are evolving that allow tumors to be targeted with a very high dose of radiation while simultaneously protecting the surrounding healthy tissue and bones. Evidence supports the safety and efficacy of radiosurgery in offering tumor control and low complication rates even with tumors that are considered radioresistant to conventional radiation therapy.1 Radioresistant tumors are either unaffected by radiation or they come back after radiation.

Ask your doctor about the different types of technologies and techniques to determine what the best procedure is for your spinal metastases.

1  Fridley, J.S., Hepel, J.T., MD; Oyelese, A.A. Current Treatment of Metastatic Spine Tumors – Surgery and Stereotactic Radiosurgery. Recent Advances in Neurosurgery.