The appropriate treatment for MSCC is controversial. A small randomized trial showed that decompressive surgery followed by radiotherapy was superior to radiotherapy alone. That study was limited to highly selected patients. Additional studies comparing surgery plus radiotherapy to radiotherapy could better clarify the role of surgery.Methods
Data from 108 patients receiving surgery plus radiotherapy were matched to 216 patients (1:2) receiving radiotherapy alone. Groups were matched for 11 potential prognostic factors and compared for post-treatment motor function, ambulatory status, regaining ambulatory status, local control, and survival. Subgroup analyses were performed for patients receiving adequate surgery (direct decompressive surgery plus stabilization of involved vertebrae), patients receiving laminectomy, patients with solid tumors, patients with solid tumors receiving adequate surgery, and patients with solid tumors receiving laminectomy.Results
Improvement of motor function occurred in 27% of patients after surgery plus radiotherapy and 26% after radiotherapy alone (P = .92). Post-treatment ambulatory rates were 69% after surgery plus radiotherapy and 68% after radiotherapy alone (P = .99). Of the nonambulatory patients, 30% and 26%, respectively, (P = .86) regained ambulatory status after treatment. One-year local control rates were 90% after surgery plus radiotherapy and 91% after radiotherapy alone (P = .48). One-year overall survival rates were 47% and 40%, respectively (P = .50). The subgroup analyses did not show significant differences between both groups. Surgery-related complications occurred in 11% of patients.Conclusion
In this study, the outcomes of the end points evaluated after radiotherapy alone appeared similar to those of surgery plus radiotherapy. A new randomized trial comparing both treatments is justified."