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November 20, 1967

The Treatment of Metastatic Spinal Cord Tumors

Author Affiliations

From the departments of radiology (Drs. Bansal, Brady, Faust, and Kazem) and neurosurgery (Drs. Olsen and Osterholm), Hahnemann Medical College, Philadelphia. Dr. Bansal is a fellow in radiation therapy, and Dr. Faust is an advanced clinical fellow in radiation therapy, American Cancer Society.

JAMA. 1967;202(8):686-688. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03130210060008

Sixty cases of metastatic extramedullary tumors of the spinal cord have been analyzed regarding tumor type, level of involvement, degree of paresis, and the role of surgery and radiation therapy in management. In general, the more rapid the rate of progression, and the longer the duration and the more severe the degree of neurological deficit, the less favorable is the prognosis concerning return of motor function. The best mode of treatment appears to be surgery followed by postoperative radiation therapy. When pressure symptoms develop and the position of the defect can be established, immediate decompressive laminectomy should be performed to lessen the chances of permanent cord damage. This should be followed by radiation therapy to the area of involvement.