Surgical treatment of primary mobile spine chordoma

Joshua M. Kolz, Elizabeth P. Wellings, Matthew T. Houdek, Michelle J. Clarke, Michael J. Yaszemski, Peter S. Rose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Objectives: Chordomas of the mobile spine (C1–L5) are rare malignant tumors. The purpose of this study was to review the outcome of surgical treatment for patients with primary mobile spine chordomas. Methods: The oncologic outcomes and survival of 26 patients undergoing surgical resection for a primary mobile spine chordoma were assessed over a 25-year period. The mean follow-up was 12 ± 6 years. Results: The 2-, 5-, and 10-year disease-free survivals were 95%, 61%, and 55%. The local recurrence-free survival was improved in patients receiving en bloc resection with negative margins (83% vs. 35%, p = 0.02) and similar in patients receiving adjuvant radiation therapy (43% vs. 45%, p = 0.30) at 10 years. Debulking of the tumor (hazard ratio [HR] = 6.41, p = 0.01) and a local recurrence (HR = 9.52, p = 0.005) were associated with death due to disease. Complications occurred in 19 (73%) patients, leading to reoperation in 9 (35%) patients; this rate was similar in intralesional and en bloc procedures. Conclusion: Surgical resection of mobile spine chordomas is associated with a high rate of complications; however, en bloc resection can provide a hope for cure and appears to confer better oncologic outcomes for these tumors without an increase in complications compared to lesser resections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1284-1291
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Surgical Oncology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 1 2021


  • cervical
  • chordoma
  • lumbar
  • mobile spine
  • outcome
  • thoracic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oncology


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