Assessment of Spinal Metastases Surgery Risk Stratification Tools in Breast Cancer by Molecular Subtype

Neurosurgery. 2023 Jan 1;92(1):83-91. doi: 10.1227/neu.0000000000002180. Epub 2022 Oct 28.


Background: Breast cancer molecular features and modern therapies are not included in spine metastasis prediction algorithms.

Objective: To examine molecular differences and the impact of postoperative systemic therapy to improve prognosis prediction for spinal metastases surgery and aid surgical decision making.

Methods: This is a retrospective multi-institutional study of patients who underwent spine surgery for symptomatic breast cancer spine metastases from 2008 to 2021 at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital. We studied overall survival, stratified by breast cancer molecular subtype, and calculated hazard ratios (HRs) adjusting for demographics, tumor characteristics, treatments, and laboratory values. We tested the performance of established models (Tokuhashi, Bauer, Skeletal Oncology Research Group, New England Spinal Metastases Score) to predict and compare all-cause.

Results: A total of 98 patients surgically treated for breast cancer spine metastases were identified (100% female sex; median age, 56 years [IQR, 36-84 years]). The 1-year probabilities of survival for hormone receptor positive, hormone receptor positive/human epidermal growth factor receptor 2+, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2+, and triple-negative breast cancer were 63% (45 of 71), 83% (10 of 12), 0% (0 of 3), and 12% (1 of 8), respectively ( P < .001). Patients with triple-negative breast cancer had a higher proportion of visceral metastases, brain metastases, and poor physical activity at baseline. Postoperative chemotherapy and endocrine therapy were associated with prolonged survival. The Skeletal Oncology Research Group prognostic model had the highest discrimination (area under the receiver operating characteristic, 0.77 [95% CI, 0.73-0.81]). The performance of all prognostic scores improved when preoperative molecular data and postoperative systemic treatment plans was considered.

Conclusion: Spine metastases risk tools were able to predict prognosis at a significantly higher degree after accounting for molecular features which guide treatment response.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Breast Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Spinal Neoplasms* / secondary
  • Triple Negative Breast Neoplasms*