Object: There is little population-based data available on primary spinal cord tumors. Many of the existing statistics are not current or were obtained from surgical series. Historically, population-based data were collected only for malignant tumors, and only recently have data begun to be collected on non-malignant tumors. The objective of this study was to estimate the incidence of both non-malignant and malignant primary spinal cord tumors and to estimate the survival rates for primary malignant spinal cord tumors.
Methods: Incidence of spinal cord tumors was estimated from cases diagnosed between 1998 and 2002 in 16 CBTRUS collaborating state cancer registries. Age-adjusted rates were generated using SAS (8.2) and standardized to the 2000 US standard population. SEER*Stat 6.1.4 software was used to estimate relative survival for malignant spinal cord tumors for cases diagnosed between 1975 and 2002 in nine SEER regions.
Conclusions: Of the spinal cord tumors identified (CBTRUS; n = 3,226), 69% were non-malignant. The most common histologic types were meningiomas (29%), nerve sheath tumors (24%), and ependymomas (23%). The overall incidence of spinal cord tumors was 0.74 per 100,000 person-years, with an incidence of 0.77/100,000 in females and 0.70/100,000 in males. The incidence rate was lowest in children (0.26) and peaked in the 75-84 year age group (1.80). Rates were higher in non-Hispanic whites (0.79) than in Hispanics (0.61) or non-Hispanic blacks (0.45). The 1-, 5-, and 10-year survival rates following diagnosis of a primary malignant spinal cord tumor were 85%, 71%, and 64%, respectively (SEER; n = 1,220).