Contemporary treatment strategy for spinal metastasis: the "LMNOP" system

Can J Neurol Sci. 2011 May;38(3):396-403. doi: 10.1017/s031716710001177x.


The choice of treatment for spinal metastasis is complex because (1) it depends on several inter-related clinical and radiologic factors, and (2) a wide range of management options has evolved in recent years. While radiation therapy and surgery remain the cornerstones of treatment, radiosurgery and percutaneous vertebral augmentation have also established a role. Classification systems have been developed to aid in the decision-making process, and each has different strengths and weaknesses. The comprehensive scoring systems developed to date provide an estimate of life expectancy, but do not provide much advice on the choice of treatment. We propose a new decision model that describes the key factors in formulating the management plan, while recognizing that the care of each patient remains highly individualized. The system also incorporates the latest changes in technology. The LMNOP system evaluates the number of spinal Levels involved and the Location of disease in the spine (L), Mechanical instability (M), Neurology (N), Oncology (O), Patient fitness, Prognosis and response to Prior therapy (P).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bone Neoplasms / secondary
  • Bone Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Decompression, Surgical / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Radiosurgery / methods*
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / surgery*
  • Spinal Neoplasms / secondary
  • Spinal Neoplasms / surgery*