Single and Multifraction Spine Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy and the Risk of Radiation Induced Myelopathy

J. John Lucido, Trey C. Mullikin, Feven Abraha, W. Scott Harmsen, Birjoo D. Vaishnav, Debra H. Brinkmann, Roman O. Kowalchuk, Joseph T. Marion, Benjamin A. Johnson-Tesch, Omar El Sherif, Paul D. Brown, Peter S. Rose, Dawn Owen, Jonathan M. Morris, Mark R. Waddle, Brittany L. Siontis, Bradley J. Stish, Deanna H. Pafundi, Nadia N. Laack, Kenneth R. OlivierSean S. Park, Kenneth W. Merrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This study reports on the risk of radiation-induced myelitis (RM) of the spinal cord from a large single-institutional experience with 1 to 5 fraction stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) to the spine. Methods and Materials: A retrospective review of patients who received spine SBRT to a radiation naïve level at or above the conus medullaris between 2007 and 2019 was performed. Local failure determination was based on SPIne response assessment in Neuro-Oncology criteria. RM was defined as neurologic symptoms consistent with the segment of cord irradiated in the absence of neoplastic disease recurrence and graded by Common Toxicity Criteria for Adverse Events, version 4.0. Rates of adverse events were estimated and dose-volume statistics from delivered treatment plans were extracted for the planning target volumes and spinal cord. Results: A total of 353 lesions in 277 patients were identified that met the specified criteria, for which 270, 70, and 13 lesions received 1-, 3-, and 5-fraction treatments, respectively, with a median follow-up of 46 months (95% confidence interval [CI], 41-52 months) for all surviving patients. The median overall survival was 33.0 months (95% CI, 29-43). The median D0.03cc to the spinal cord was 11.7 Gy (interquartile range [IQR], 10.5-12.4), 16.7 Gy (IQR, 12.8-20.6), and 26.0 Gy (IQR, 24.1-28.1), for 1-, 3-, 5-fractions. Using an a/b = 2Gy for the spinal cord, the median single-fraction equivalent-dose (SFED2) was 11.7 Gy (IQR, 10.2-12.5 Gy) and the normalized biological equivalent dose (nBED2/2) was 19.9 Gy (IQR, 15.4-22.8 Gy). One patient experienced grade 2 RM after a single-fraction treatment. The cumulative probability of RM was 0.3% (95% CI, 0%-2%). Conclusions: Spine SBRT is safe while limiting the spinal cord (as defined on treatment planning magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography myelogram) D0.03cc to less than 14 Gy, 21.9 Gy, and 30 Gy, for 1, 3, and 5-fractions, consistent with standard guidelines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101047
JournalAdvances in Radiation Oncology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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