Association of neurologic deficits with surgical outcomes and health-related quality of life after treatment for metastatic epidural spinal cord compression

Cancer. 2019 Dec 1;125(23):4224-4231. doi: 10.1002/cncr.32420. Epub 2019 Aug 13.


Background: A critical knowledge gap exists regarding the impact of neurologic deficits on surgical outcomes and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) for patients surgically treated for metastatic epidural spinal cord compression (MESCC).

Methods: This prospective, multicenter and international study analyzed the impact of the neurologic status on functional status, HRQOL, and postoperative survival. The collected data included the patient demographics, overall survival, American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) impairment scale, Spinal Instability Neoplastic Score, treatment details and complications and HRQOL measures, including version 2 of the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36v2) and version 2.0 of the Spine Oncology Study Group Outcomes Questionnaire (SOSGOQ2.0).

Results: A total of 239 patients surgically treated for spinal metastases were included. Six weeks after treatment, 99 of the 108 patients with a preoperative ASIA grade of E remained stable, 8 deteriorated to ASIA D, and 1 deteriorated to ASIA A. Of 55 patients with ASIA D, 27 improved to ASIA E, 27 remained stable and 1 deteriorated to ASIA C. Of 11 patients with ASIA A to C, 2 improved to ASIA E, 4 improved to ASIA D, and 5 remained stable. At the 6- and 12-week follow-up, better ASIA scores were associated with better scores on multiple SF-36v2 and SOSGOQ items. Postoperatively, patients with ASIA grades of A to D were more likely to have urinary tract infections and wound complications. Patients with a baseline ASIA grade of E or D survived significantly longer.

Conclusions: Patients with neurologic deficits due to MESCC have worse HRQOL and decreased overall survival. Nevertheless, surgery can result in stabilization or improvement of neurologic function which may translate into better HRQOL. Postoperative care and follow-up are challenging for patients with neurologic deficits because they experience more complications.

Keywords: health-related quality of life (HRQOL); neurologic deficit; spine; surgery; treatment; tumor.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Spinal Cord Compression / complications*
  • Spinal Cord Compression / etiology
  • Spinal Cord Compression / surgery
  • Spinal Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult