Metastatic Spinal Cord Compression

Authors: Meic H. Schmidt MD1, Paul Klimo Jr MD, MPH1, and Frank D. Vrionis MD, PhD1
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  • 1 From Spinal Oncology Service, Department of Neurosurgery, Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, and Neuro-Oncology Program, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida.

Approximately 70% of cancer patients have metastatic disease at death. The spine is involved in up to 40% of those patients. Spinal cord compression may develop in 5% to 10% of cancer patients and up to 40% of patients with preexisting nonspinal bone metastasis (>25,000 cases/y). Given the increasing survival times of patients with cancer, greater numbers of patients are likely to develop this complication. The role of surgery in the management of metastatic spinal cord compression is expanding. The management of metastatic spine disease can consist of a combination of surgery, radiation treatment, and chemotherapy. Treatment modalities are not mutually exclusive and must be individualized for patients evaluated in a multidisciplinary setting.

Correspondence: Meic H. Schmidt, MD, Spinal Oncology Service, Huntsman Cancer Institute, Department of Neurosurgery, University of Utah, 30 North 1900 East, Suite 3B-409, Salt Lake City, UT 84132-2303. E-mail: meic.schmidt@hsc.utah.edu.
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