Metastatic spine disease in lung cancer patients: national patterns of radiation and surgical care

Patrick D. Kelly, Scott L. Zuckerman, Khoi D. Than, Albert Attia, Jerry J. Jaboin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Lung cancer is the most common source of spinal metastases. As our treatment of spinal metastases evolves, national trends in radiation therapy (RT), including spinal stereotactic neurosurgery, have yet to been established. Methods: We performed a retrospective review of lung cancer patients within the National Cancer Database (NCDB) between 2004 and 2014 who received radiation to the vertebral column. Results: A total of 29,144 lung cancer patients received either external beam RT (EBRT), stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), or particle-based RT to the spine. EBRT was the most common modality throughout all years, though SRS use increased over time (Spearman’s rank correlation, P<0.01). A surgical procedure on a distant metastasis was performed in 1,547 (5.3%) patients. Median survival was 6.24 months for patients receiving EBRT and 9.3 months for those receiving SRS, a significant difference (log rank test, P<0.01), which persisted when adjusting for other predictors (multivariable Cox regression, P<0.01). Conclusions: In conclusion, spinal SRS is steadily growing in the treatment of lung metastases to the spine, and surgery on distant metastases is becoming more frequent. There was a survival advantage for patients receiving SRS over EBRT. As the use of SRS—in addition to separation surgery—grows in radioresistant pathology, further study of improved survival and recurrence rates are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)320-328
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Spine Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 29 2019


  • Bone neoplasms
  • lung neoplasms
  • neurosurgical procedures
  • radiosurgery
  • spine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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