“True” malignant epidural spinal cord compression (MESCC) is used here to describe a lesion compressing of infiltrating the spinal cord associated with neurologic deficits. Radiotherapy alone is the most common treatment, for which several dose-fractionation regimens are available including single-fraction, short-course and longer-course regimens. Since these regimens are similarly effective regarding functional outcomes, patients with poor survival are optimally treated with short-course or even single-fraction radiotherapy. Longer-course radiotherapy results in better local control of malignant epidural spinal cord compression. Since most in-field recurrences occur 6 months or later, local control is particularly important for longer-term survivors who, therefore, should receive longer-course radiotherapy. It is important to estimate survival prior to treatment, which is facilitated by scoring tools. Radiotherapy should be supplemented by corticosteroids, if safely possible. Bisphosphonates and RANK-ligand inhibitors may improve local control. Selected patients can benefit from upfront decompressive surgery. Identification of these patients is facilitated by prognostic instruments considering degree of compression, myelopathy, radio-sensitivity, spinal stability, post-treatment ambulatory status, and patients’ performance status and survival prognoses. Many factors including patients’ preferences must be considered when designing personalized treatment regimens.
Research Areas and Centers
- Research Area: Luebeck Integrated Oncology Network (LION)
- Centers: University Cancer Center Schleswig-Holstein (UCCSH)