Predictors of Progression-Free Survival in Patients With Spinal Intramedullary Ependymoma: A Multicenter Retrospective Study by the Neurospinal Society of Japan

Neurosurgery 93:1046–1056, 2023

Ependymoma is the most common spinal intramedullary tumor. Although clinical outcomes have been described in the literature, most of the reports were based on limited numbers of cases or been confined to institutional experience. The objective of this study was to analyze more detailed characteristics of spinal intramedullary ependymoma (SIE) and provide clinical factors associated with progression-free survival (PFS).

METHODS: This retrospective observational multicenter study included consecutive patients with SIE in the cervical or thoracic spine treated surgically at a total of 58 institutions between 2009 and 2020. The results of pathological diagnosis at each institute were confirmed, and patients with myxopapillary ependymoma, subependymoma, or unverified histopathology were strictly excluded from this study. Outcome measures included surgical data, surgery-related complications, postoperative systemic adverse events, postoperative adjuvant treatment, postoperative functional condition, and presence of recurrence.

RESULTS: This study included 324 cases of World Health Organization grade II (96.4%) and 12 cases of World Health Organization grade III (3.6%). Gross total resection (GTR) was achieved in 76.5% of cases. Radiation therapy (RT) was applied after surgery in 16 cases (4.8%), all of which received local RT and 5 of which underwent chemotherapy in combination. Functional outcomes were significantly affected by preoperative neurological symptoms, tumor location, extent of tumor resection, and recurrence. Multivariate regression analysis suggested that limited extent of tumor resection or recurrence resulted in poor functional outcomes. Multiple comparisons among the groups undergoing GTR, subtotal resection and biopsy, or partial resection of the tumor showed that the probability of PFS differed significantly between GTR and other extents of resection.

CONCLUSION: When GTR can be safely obtained in the surgery for SIE, functional maintenance and longer PFScan be expected.