Independent predictors of survival and the impact of repeat surgery in patients undergoing surgical treatment of spinal metastasis

J Neurosurg Spine. 2012 Dec;17(6):565-76. doi: 10.3171/2012.8.SPINE12449. Epub 2012 Sep 28.


Object: Surgery for spinal metastasis is considered palliative, and postoperative survival is often less than a year. Recurrence of metastatic lesions is quite common, and it remains unclear whether repeat surgery is effective. In this study, the authors assessed independent predictors for survival at 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years after surgery, and examined whether repeat surgery for recurrence of spinal metastasis influenced survival rates.

Methods: Retrospective review of the electronic medical records was performed to identify a consecutive population of adult patients who underwent surgery for spinal metastasis during the period 2005-2011. Utilizing a Cox proportional hazard regression model, the authors assessed independent predictors and risk factors for survival at 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years after surgery. In addition, the impact of repeat surgery on survival was specifically assessed via multivariable analysis.

Results: A total of 99 patients were included in the final analysis. The overall mean postoperative duration of survival was 9.6 months. In addition to previously identified predictors of survival (preoperative ambulation, Karnofsky Performance Status [KPS], radiotherapy, primary cancer type, presence of extraspinal metastasis, and number of spinal segments with metastasis), pain on presentation and body mass index (BMI) of 25-30 were both independently associated with survival. Patients with recurrence who underwent repeat surgery had longer mean survival times than patients with recurrence who did not undergo repeat surgery (19.6 months vs 12.8 months, respectively). Repeat surgery was also independently associated with higher survival rates on multivariate analysis. Follow-up KPS was significantly higher in patients who underwent repeat surgery as well.

Conclusions: In addition to confirming previously identified predictors of survival following surgery for spinal metastasis, the authors identified BMI and pain on presentation as independent predictors of survival. They also found that repeat surgery may be a viable option in patients with metastatic recurrence and may offer prolonged survival, likely due to improved functionality, mitigating complications associated with immobility.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / mortality*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / secondary
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / surgery*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Reoperation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spinal Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Spinal Neoplasms / secondary
  • Spinal Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome