To describe a decision framework that incorporates key factors to be considered for optimal treatment of spinal metastasis and highlight how this system incorporates the Spinal Instability Neoplastic Score (SINS).Methods
We describe how treatment options for spinal metastasis have broadened in recent years with advancements in stereotactic radiosurgery, vertebral augmentation, and other minimally invasive techniques. We discuss classification-based approaches to the treatment of spinal metastasis versus principles-based approaches and argue that the latter may be more appropriate for optimal patient informed consent. Case examples are provided.Results
Scoring systems at best produce an estimate of life expectancy but fall short in incorporating all of the relevant factors that determine which treatment(s) may be indicated. We advocate a principle-based decision framework called LMNOP that considers: (L) location of disease with respect to the anterior and/or posterior columns of the spine and number of spinal levels involved (contiguous or non-contiguous); (M) mechanical instability as graded by SINS; (N) neurology (symptomatic epidural spinal cord compression); (O) oncology (histopathologic diagnosis), particularly with respect to radiosensitivity; and (P) patient fitness, patient wishes, prognosis (which is mostly dependent on tumor type), and response to prior therapy.Conclusions
LMNOP is the first systematic approach to spinal metastasis that incorporates SINS. It is easy to remember, it addresses clinical factors not directly addressed by other systems, and it is adaptable to changes in technology.