Objective: To evaluate progression-free survival, overall survival (OS) and long-term clinical outcome in a consecutive series of 86 patients with intraspinal ependymomas.
METHODS: Medical charts were retrospectively reviewed. Surviving patients voluntarily participated in a clinical history and physical examination that focused on neurological function and current tumor status.
RESULTS: Follow-up data are nearly 100% complete; mean follow-up time was 82 months. Eighty-five patients (99%) had surgery as a first-line treatment; 14 (17%) of these patients received adjuvant radiotherapy. Of the 85 patients who underwent primary surgery, gross total resection was performed in 60 patients (71%) and subtotal resection in 25 patients (29%). Ten-year progression-free survival rate was 75%; 5-year OS, 97%; and 10-year OS, 91%. Reduced preoperative neurological function and older age at diagnosis were significantly associated with increased risk of death. At follow-up, spontaneous regression of residual tumor after primary surgery may have occurred in 7 of 19 patients (37%). More than 75% of patients had neurological function compatible with an independent life at follow-up. Good preoperative neurological function was significantly associated with favorable outcome. It was not possible to evaluate the effect of radiotherapy on progression-free survival and OS.
CONCLUSION: Gross total resection remains the optimal treatment for patients with spinal ependymoma. Patients should be monitored with a clinical examination and magnetic resonance imaging at regular intervals up to 10 years after surgery.