Radiation therapy for spinal epidural metastases with complete block

Acta Radiol Oncol. 1983;22(2):135-43. doi: 10.3109/02841868309134353.


Myelography was performed in 535 patients at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital from January 1979 to December 1979. In 110 cases a complete block was demonstrated and of these, 78 had epidural metastases. A uniform treatment was applied using radiation therapy and high dose steroid. The neurologic outcome for each patient was evaluated, correlating pre-treatment neurologic status, pathologic type, nature of block (level, structural versus tumoral), and result of repeat fluoromyelography. Only 2 patients improved, but 11 became completely paraplegic. The survival was influenced by the ambulatory status after treatment (median survival: 52.7 weeks in the ambulatory group and 4.6 weeks in the paraplegic). Based on this series, rational approach and management of complete block secondary to spinal epidural metastases are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Epidural Space
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myelography
  • Spinal Cord Compression / diagnostic imaging
  • Spinal Cord Compression / etiology
  • Spinal Cord Compression / radiotherapy*
  • Spinal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Spinal Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Spinal Neoplasms / secondary*