Reirradiation of the spine with stereotactic radiosurgery: Efficacy and toxicity

Pract Radiat Oncol. 2017 Nov-Dec;7(6):e409-e417. doi: 10.1016/j.prro.2017.05.007. Epub 2017 May 25.


Purpose: To determine the potential benefits and adverse effects associated with reirradiating the spinal cord when at least 1 course of radiation therapy (RT) is stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS).

Methods and materials: This institutional review board-approved retrospective review included 162 patients (237 reirradiated spine lesions). All patients received SRS at our institution between 2001 and 2013. Electronic medical records were reviewed for clinical exams and radiologic tests (computed tomography/magnetic resonance imaging). Primary endpoints were pain, neurological, radiographic responses, and the development of adverse effects.

Results: A total of 120 patients (74.1%) were deceased with a median survival of 13 months. Time between courses of RT was a median of 10.2 months. Median SRS dose was 16 Gy in 1 fraction, whereas the median conventional external beam radiation therapy (cEBRT) dose was 30 Gy in 10 fractions. The median tumor equivalent dose in 2-Gy fractions (EQD2) for SRS doses was 34.7 Gy, whereas the median tumor EQD2 for cEBRT was 32.5 Gy, providing a median total tumor EQD2 of 69.3 Gy (22-145.6 Gy). The median critical nervous tissue EQD2 for SRS and cEBRT was 56 Gy and 37.5 Gy, respectively, resulting in a median total critical nervous tissue EQD2 of 93.5 Gy. Overall pain, neurological, and radiographic response rates were 81%, 82%, and 71%, respectively. Adverse effects occurred in 11 (6.8%) patients. Seventy-seven vertebral compression fractures were observed, 22 (9.3%) of which may be attributed to RT.

Conclusions: Our results demonstrate that reirradiation achieves favorable response rates with minimal toxicity if recommended dose constraints to the spinal cord with SRS are carefully observed. To the best of our knowledge, this is the largest reported single-institution experience analyzing the efficacy and toxicity of reirradiation of the spine when at least 1 course of RT is stereotactic radiosurgery.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Radiosurgery / adverse effects*
  • Radiosurgery / methods*
  • Re-Irradiation / adverse effects
  • Re-Irradiation / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spinal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Spinal Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Spinal Neoplasms / secondary
  • Treatment Outcome