Radiosurgical decompression of metastatic epidural compression

Samuel Ryu, Jack Rock, Rajan Jain, Mei Lu, Joseph Anderson, Jian Yue Jin, Mark Rosenblum, Benjamin Movsas, Jae Ho Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

105 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Surgical decompression of metastatic epidural compression (MEC) improved ambulatory function. Spine radiosurgery can accurately target the epidural tumor and deliver high radiation doses for tumor control. Therefore, a clinical trial was performed to quantitatively determine the degree of epidural decompression by radiosurgery of metastatic epidural compression. METHODS: Sixty-two patients with a total of 85 lesions of metastatic epidural compression were treated. Epidural compression was diagnosed by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. Main criteria of inclusion were neurological status with muscle power 4 of 5 or better. Radiosurgery was performed to the involved spine segment, including the epidural mass with median dose of 16 Gy (range 12-20 Gy) in a single session. All patients had prospective clinical follow-up, ranging from 1-48 months (median 11.5 months), and 36 patients had pretreatment and post-treatment imaging, ranging from 2-33 months (median 9.3 months). Primary endpoints were epidural tumor control and thecal sac decompression. RESULTS: The mean epidural tumor volume reduction was 65 ± 14% at 2 months after radiosurgery. The epidural tumor area at the level of the most severe spinal cord compression was 0.82 ± 0.08 cm2 before radiosurgery and 0.41 ± 0.06 cm2 after radiosurgery (P < .001). Thecal sac patency improved from 55 ± 4% to 76 ± 3% (P < .001). Overall, neurological function improved in 81%. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated a radiosurgical decompression of epidural tumor. Although neurosurgical decompression and radiotherapy is the standard treatment in patients with good performance, radiosurgical decompression can be a viable noninvasive treatment option for malignant epidural compression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2250-2257
Number of pages8
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Decompressive radiosurgery
  • Metastatic epidural compression
  • Spinal cord compression
  • Spine radiosurgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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