Is Open Surgery for Metastatic Spinal Cord Compression Secondary to Lung Cancer Really Beneficial? A Systematic Review

Lung Cancer

World Neurosurg. 2020 Aug 19:S1878-8750(20)31865-9. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2020.08.098. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVE: Spinal cord compression secondary to metastatic epidural lung cancer generally has a worse prognosis when compared to other metastatic tumors. The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of open surgery on the survival time, ambulation status, and associated prognostic variables of these patients over the last two decades.

METHODS: We searched the PubMed, MEDLINE, and CENTRAL databases to identify patients with spinal cord compression secondary to metastatic lung cancer. We assessed the role of the following factors on survival outcome and ambulation recovery: Karnofsky Performance Scale, number of extraspinal bone metastases, number of metastases in the vertebrae, major internal organs involvement, vertebral location of spinal metastases and neurologic status.

RESULTS: Our initial search yielded 367 articles from which 11 studies met the eligibility criteria; a total of 395 patients. Significant correlations with the survival period and the recovery in ambulation were found in the prognostic score for the number of metastases in vertebrae (R = 0.74 and 0.88, respectively), and in the prognostic score for metastases to major internal organs (R = 0.82 and 0.81, respectively). A significant correlation with survival period was found in the numbers of extraspinal bone metastases (R = -0.82). The rates of major complications were comparable with those for open surgery for metastatic tumors of other origin.

CONCLUSIONS: Fewer vertebral metastases and less major internal organ involvement were associated with longer survival periods and greater ambulation recovery in patients undergoing open surgery for spinal cord compression secondary to metastatic lung cancer.