Osseous metastases to the spine result in significant pain and decreased quality of life. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the long-term efficacy of microwave ablation (MWA) for the treatment of spinal metastases regarding pain reduction and local control of disease progression. In this single center retrospective study, patients with osseous metastases to the spine undergoing MWA with vertebroplasty from 2013 to 2020 were included. Locoregional control of metabolic activity at the treated level was assessed using PET/CT scan both pre- and post-procedure. Pain reduction was measured using change in visual analog scale (VAS) pain score. Forty-eight spinal levels were treated with MWA in 28 patients (57 % male, mean age 68 ± 9 years). Median ablation time, energy, and temperature were 4 min and 13 s, 3.6 kJ, and 80 °C, respectively. Median pre-procedure maximum standard uptake value (SUVmax) was significantly reduced following ablation, from 4.55 (IQR 3.65-6.1) to 0 (IQR 0-1.8; p < 0.001), over an average of 29 ± 14.1 month follow up period. Pre-procedure VAS pain score was reduced from median (IQR) of 8 (6.5-9) to 1(1-2), 2(1-3) and 1(0.5-3) at 24 h, four weeks, and six months post-procedure, respectively (all p < 0.001 with respect to pre-procedure scores). In conclusion, this study supports microwave ablation as an effective technique for pain palliation and long-term locoregional tumor control of oligometastatic spinal disease as assessed by metabolic response.
Keywords: Ablation technique; Local tumor control; Microwave ablation technique; Oligometastases; Radiofrequency ablation; Spinal metastasis; Spinal neoplasm.
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