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Risk Factors and Probability of Vertebral Body Collapse in Metastases of the Thoracic and Lumbar Spine

Taneichi, Hiroshi, MD; Kaneda, Kiyoshi, MD; Takeda, Naoki, MD; Abumi, Kuniyoshi, MD; Satoh, Shigenobu, MD


Study Design. The associations between vertebral body collapse and the size or location of the metastatic lesions were analyzed statistically to estimate the critical point of collapse.

Objectives. To determine risk factors for collapse, to estimate the predicted probability of collapse under various states of metastatic vertebral involvement, and to establish the criteria of impending collapse.

Summary of Background Data. Pathologic vertebral collapse brings about severe pain and paralysis in patients with cancer. Prevention of collapse plays a significant role in maintaining or improving their quality of life. Because no previous study has clarified the critical point of vertebral collapse, however, the optimum timing for prophylactic treatment has been unclear.

Methods. The size and location of metastatic tumor from Th1 to L5 were evaluated radiologically for 100 thoracic and lumbar vertebrae with osteolytic lesions. The correlations between collapse and the following risk factors (x1-x4) were determined by means of a multivariate logistic regression model: x1, tumor size (the percentage of tumor occupancy in the vertebral body [%TO]); x2, pedicle destruction; x3, posterior element destruction; and x4, costovertebral joint destruction.

Results. Significant risk factors were costovertebral joint destruction (odds ratio, 10.17; P = 0.021) and tumor size (odds ratio of every 10% increment in %TO, 2.44; P = 0.032) in the thoracic region (Th1-Th10), whereas, tumor size (odds ratio of every 10% increment in %TO, 4.35; P = 0.002) and pedicle destruction (odds ratio, 297.08; P = 0.009) were main factors in the thoracolumbar and lumbar spine (Th10-L5). The criteria of impending collapse were: 50-60% involvement of the vertebral body with no destruction of other structures, or 25-30% involvement with costovertebral joint destruction in the thoracic spine; and 35-40% involvement of vertebral body, or 20-25% involvement with posterior elements destruction in thoracolumbar and lumbar spine.

Conclusions. With respect to the timing and occurrence of vertebral collapse, there is a distinct discrepancy between the thoracic and thoracolumbar or lumbar spine. When a prophylactic treatment is required, the optimum timing and method of treatment should be selected according to the level and extent of the metastatic vertebral involvement.

From the Department of Orthopaedic surgery, School of medicine, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan.

Supported by Grant-in-aid for Encouragement of Young Scientists from the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science of Japan (No. A-07771133).

This paper was partially presented at the 63rd annual meeting of American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Atlanta, Georgia, February 24, 1996.

Acknowledgment date: October 5, 1995.

First revision date: February 12, 1996.

Acceptance date: July 17, 1996.

Device status category: 1.

Address reprint requests to: Hiroshi Taneichi, MD; Department of Orthopaedic surgery; School of medicine, Hokkaido University; Kita-15, Nishi-7, Kita-ku, 060 Sapporo; Japan.

© 1997 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins