Prognostic factors and survival in primary malignant astrocytomas of the spinal cord: A population-based analysis from 1973 to 2007

Hadie Adams, Javier Avendaño, Shaan M. Raza, Ziya L. Gokaslan, George I. Jallo, Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Study Design. Observational cross-sectional study. Objective. Using data from the population-based cancer registries of the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) program, we analyzed demographic features, tumor and treatment characteristics, as well as survival rates in patients with primary malignant astrocytomas of the spinal cord (PMASC). Summary of Background Data. PMASC is a rare neoplasm and is considered to carry the same dismal outcome as their cerebral counterparts. Our current knowledge is incomplete, and understanding the epidemiology, diagnosis, and optimal treatment still poses challenges. Methods. The SEER data from 1973 to 2007 were reviewed for pathologically confirmed primary anaplastic astrocytomas (AA) and glioblastomas of the spinal cord (C72.0). We compared the clinical features and outcomes of the cohort in uni- and multivariate fashion. Survival was calculated and compared using Kaplan-Meier curves and log-rank analysis. Results. Our search criteria retrieved 135 patients diagnosed with PMASC. The median survival for PMASC was 13 months with 1-, 2-, and 5-year survival rates of 51.8%, 32.2%, and 18.7%. Patient diagnosed with AA had a median survival time of 17 months versus 10 months in patients diagnosed with glioblastomas. Adult patients observed markedly prolonged survival compared with the pediatric group, with a 16-month versus 9-month median survival, respectively. Multivariate analysis revealed age at diagnosis, pediatric and adult age groups, sex, tumor histology, and extent of resection as significant predictors of survival. Interestingly, outcomes did not significantly change throughout the last decades or by receiving radiotherapy. Conclusion. Outcome for patients diagnosed with PMASC remains poor and presents an ongoing challenge for professionals in the field of neurospinal medicine and surgery. In our analyses of AA, adult patients, males, and patients undergoing radical resections were associated with increased survival. However, incidence of these lesions is low; hence, building strong collaborative, interdisciplinary, and multi-institutional study groups is necessary to define the optimal treatment of PMASC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E727-E735
Issue number12
StatePublished - May 20 2012


  • SEER
  • anaplastic
  • astrocytoma
  • glioblastoma
  • prognostic factors
  • spinal cord
  • survival
  • treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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