Surgical Resection With Radiation Treatment Planning of Spinal Tumors

Neurosurgery, Volume 84, Issue 6, June 2019, Pages 1242–1250

The clinical paradigm for spinal tumors with epidural involvement is challenging considering the rigid dose tolerance of the spinal cord. One effective approach involves open surgery for tumor resection, followed by stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT). Resection extent is often determined by the neurosurgeon’s clinical expertise, without considering optimal subsequent post-operative SBRT treatment.

OBJECTIVE: To quantify the effect of incremental epidural disease resection on tumor coverage for spine SBRT in an effort toworking towards integrating radiotherapy planning within the operating room.

METHODS: Ten patients having undergone spinal separation surgery with postoperative SBRTwere retrospectively reviewed. Preoperative magnetic resonance imaging was coregistered to postoperative planning computed tomography to delineate the preoperative epidural disease gross tumor volume (GTV). The GTV was digitally shrunk by a series of fixed amounts away from the cord (up to 6 mm) simulating incremental tumor resection and reflecting an optimal dosimetric endpoint. The dosimetric effect on simulated GTVs was analyzed using metrics such as minimum biologically effective dose (BED) to 95% of the simulated GTV (D95) and compared to the unresected epidural GTV.

RESULTS: Epidural GTV D95 increased at an average rate of 0.88 ± 0.09 Gy10 per mm of resected disease up to the simulated 6 mm limit. Mean BED to D95 was 5.3 Gy10 (31.2%) greater than unresected cases. Allmetrics showed strong positive correlationswith increasing tumor resection margins (R2: 0.989-0.999, P< .01).

CONCLUSION: Spine separation surgery provides division between the spinal cord and epidural disease, facilitating better disease coverage for subsequent post-operative SBRT. By quantifying the dosimetric advantage prior to surgery on actual clinical cases, targeted surgical planning can be implemented.