Study identifies factors for long-term survival after spinal tumor

Tumor pathology, patient age, extent of surgery, and treatment technique all appear to be significantly associated with the long-term outcomes of persons with primary spinal-cord gliomas.

Arnab Chakravarti, MD—chair and professor of radiation oncology and co-director of the brain tumor program at The Ohio State Comprehensive Cancer Center-Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, Columbus—led the 14-year study of 32 persons. “Our findings need to be verified in a larger number of patients, but they suggest that individuals younger than age 54, those with ependymomas, and those treated with photon-based therapy versus proton-beam treatment have better overall survival,” he reported in a statement issued by Ohio State University Medical Center.

The overall 5-year survival rate for all 32 patients was 65%, and the progression-free survival rate was 61%. “Perhaps most surprising is that the subset of spinal-cord tumor patients treated by photons appeared to do worse, even though they have more favorable pretreatment demographics,” noted Dr. Chakravarti.

In addition, persons 55 years and older, those with astrocytomas as opposed to ependymomas, and those who had a biopsy rather than a resection, all fared worse in overall survival.

The study was published online ahead of print by International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics.

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