Prognostic factors in patients with metastatic spinal cord compression secondary to melanoma: a systematic review

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Abstract

Melanoma is one of the most common primary tumours associated with metastatic spinal cord compression (MSCC). The aim of this review is to identify prognostic factors specifically for MSCC secondary to melanoma. A systematic search of literature was performed in MEDLINE, Embase and the Cochrane Library to identify studies reporting prognostic factors for patients with MSCC secondary to melanoma. Two studies, involving a total of 39 patients, fulfilled the inclusion criteria. The variables associated with increased survival were receiving postoperative radiotherapy, receiving chemotherapy, perioperative lactate dehydrogenase level less than or equal to 8.0 µkat/l, preoperative haemoglobin level more than 11.5 mg/dl, an interval of 4 or more years between melanoma diagnosis and skeletal metastasis, absence of further skeletal metastases, absence of visceral metastases, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Performance Status of 2 or less, two or fewer involved vertebrae, being ambulatory preradiotherapy and an interval of more than 7 days between developing motor deficits and radiotherapy. The variables associated with good functional outcome were slow development of motor dysfunction, good performance status and being ambulatory before radiotherapy. The most important prognostic factors for survival are Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Performance Status of 2 or less and absence of visceral metastases. There is a lack of studies looking specifically at prognostic factors for patients with MSCC secondary to melanoma, and the number of patients involved in the existing studies is small.

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