Metastatic spinal cord compression in patients with colorectal cancer

Paul D. Brown, Scott L. Stafford, Steven E. Schild, James A. Martenson, David Schiff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Background. A retrospective study was performed to examine the outcome of patients with colorectal cancer who had metastatic spinal cord compression (MSCC) and received radiation therapy (RT). Methods. Forty episodes of MSCC were treated with external beam RT in 34 patients with metastatic colorectal cancer. The median total dose was 3000 cGy (1800-4750 cGy), and the daily fraction size was 300 cGy (151-400 cGy). All patients were followed until death. Results. Median overall survival for the entire cohort was 4.1 months. Of 21 patients ambulatory before RT, 20 remained ambulatory after treatment, whereas only 2 of 9 patients who were nonambulatory regained full ambulatory status. Patients with rectal primary tumors had improved survival (median 7.9 months) compared with those who had colon primary tumors (2.7 months) (P = 0.002). Patients who received a total dose of more than 3000 cGy had a better survival (7 months) than those who received 3000 cGy or less (3.1 months) (P = 0.024). There was a trend for improved survival in patients fully ambulatory at diagnosis (P = 0.056) and after RT (P = 0.07). Unlike other primary sites in which approximately 70% of lesions are located in the thoracic spine, the location of epidural metastasis in colorectal primary tumors was most frequently in the lumbar spine (55% of lesions). Conclusions. Prognostic features and outcomes for MSCC with primary colorectal cancer are similar to those for other primary sites. There is a suggestion that rectal primary tumors may be associated with an improved outcome compared with colon primary tumors. Patients who received more than 3000 cGy total dose had a longer survival than those who received lower total doses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-180
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of neuro-oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 21 1999


  • Colon cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Radiation therapy
  • Rectal cancer
  • Spinal cord compression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cancer Research


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