Purpose: To create a scoring system to predict ambulatory status after radiotherapy (RT) for metastatic spinal cord compression (MSCC).
Methods and materials: On the basis of a multivariate analysis of 2096 MSCC patients, a scoring system was developed. This included the five prognostic factors significantly associated with post-RT ambulatory status: primary tumor type, interval between tumor diagnosis and MSCC, visceral metastases, motor function before RT, and time developing motor deficits before RT. The score for each factor was determined by dividing the post-RT ambulatory rate (as a percentage) by 10. Total scores represented the sum of the scores for each factor and ranged between 21 and 44 points. Patients were divided into five groups according to this score.
Results: The post-RT ambulatory rates were 6% (24 of 389) for patients with scores of </=28 points, 44% (121 of 278) for those with 29-31 points, 70% (212 of 303) for those with 32-34 points, 86% (315 of 266) for those with 35-37 points, and 99% (750 of 760) for those with >/=38 points. The 3-month survival rates were 29%, 62%, 77%, 84%, and 98%, respectively. The 6-months survival rates were 6%, 31%, 42%, 61%, and 93%, respectively.
Conclusions: Because patients with scores of </=28 points had poor functional outcome after RT and extraordinarily poor survival rates, short-course RT to decrease pain or best supportive care may be considered. Patients with scores of 29-37 points should be considered surgical candidates, because RT-alone results were not optimal. Patients with scores of >/=38 points seem to have excellent results with RT alone.