Postoperative stereotactic body radiotherapy for spinal metastases
Spine is a common site of metastases in cancer patients. Spine surgery is indicated for select patients, typically those with mechanical instability and/or malignant epidural spinal cord (or cauda equina) compression. Although post-operative conventional palliative external beam radiation therapy has been the standard of care, technical improvements in radiation planning and image-guided radiotherapy have allowed for the application of stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) to the spine. Spine SBRT is intended to ablate residual tumor and optimize local control by delivering several fold greater biologically effective doses. Early clinical experience of postoperative spinal SBRT report encouraging results in terms of safety and efficacy. In this review, we summarize the clinical and technical aspects pertinent to a safe and effective practice of postoperative SBRT for spinal metastases.