Dosimetric analysis of varying cord planning organ at risk volume in spine stereotactic body radiation therapy

Dawn Owen, Charles S. Mayo, Limin Song, Kamran Ahmed, Nadia Laack, Kenneth Olivier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background Spine stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) is becoming widely accepted as first-line treatment of oligometastatic spine disease as well as in the postoperative setting. The reported incidence of myelopathy is very low and guidelines vary widely on the maximum tolerable dose of the spinal cord and thecal sac. Methods and materials Between April 2008 and December 2010, radiation parameters were exported for 46 patients treated with spine SBRT at the Mayo Clinic. Using an in-house data mining program, dose-volume histogram constraints were extracted, including dose prescription, dose fractionation, planning target volume, planning target volume coverage, maximum dose to the cord, D2cc thecal sac, and D2cc spinal cord. Diagnostic magnetic resonance imaging scans and/or computed tomography myelograms were fused with the planning set to delineate the cord and thecal sac for receiver operating characteristic analysis of cord and thecal sac subvolume doses. A high-resolution planning at-risk volume was created in 1-mm increments for cord (1-7 mm) and the thecal sac (1-2 mm) to examine dose gradients that might be correlated with toxicity. Results No patients experienced myelopathy with a median follow-up of 14 months. The most common toxicities were pain and nausea. Median values of D2cc maximum dose (maximum dose received by 2 cc of the organ at risk; biologically equivalent 2-Gy dose maximum [EQD2]) for cord and thecal sac were 38.5 Gy (range, 7.5-67.9 Gy) and 67.7 Gy (range, 15.5-155.8 Gy), respectively. Median values for high-dose subvolumes for cord and thecal sac were 2 times higher than the doses for 5% predicted grade 3 cord toxicity as recommended in the current literature. Cord D0.1cc[EQD2] ≥23.8 Gy was correlated with pain flare (n = 5). Thecal sac D2cc [EQD2] ≥29.3 Gy was a significant indicator of nausea. Conclusion Current guidelines may overestimate the risk of myelopathy from spine SBRT. The current study's population included both radiation-naïve and retreatment cases, but no myelopathy was observed despite exceeding recommended spine limits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)76-81
Number of pages6
JournalAdvances in Radiation Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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