Normal tissue complication probability of vertebral compression fracture after stereotactic body radiotherapy for de novo spine metastasis

Xuguang Chen, Chengcheng Gui, Jimm Grimm, Ellen Huang, Lawrence Kleinberg, Larry Lo, Daniel Sciubba, Majid Khan, Kristin J. Redmond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: Stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) for spine metastases is associated with post-treatment vertebral compression fracture (VCF). The purpose of this study is to identify clinical and radiation planning characteristics that predict post-SBRT VCF through a novel normal tissue complication probability (NTCP) analysis. Methods: Patients with de novo spine metastases treated with SBRT between 2009 and 2018 at a single institution were included. Those who had surgical stabilization or radiation to the same site prior to SBRT were excluded. VCF was defined as new development or progression of existing vertebral body height loss not attributable to tumor growth. Probit NTCP models were constructed and fitted using a maximum likelihood approach. A multivariate proportional hazard model was used to estimate time to VCF using the Fine and Gray method. Results: Three hundred and two vertebral segments from 193 patients were treated with a median dose of 24 Gy in 3 fractions (range 15–30 Gy in 1–5 fractions). With a median follow up of 13.9 months, local control was 89.3% at 1 year. A total of 26 SBRT-induced VCFs were observed, with 1 and 2-year cumulative incidences of 4.6% and 6.7%. NTCP modeling demonstrated a steep response of VCF risk to the dose to 80% and 50% volume of the planning target volume (PTV D80% and D50%), but not maximum dose or dose to 1 cc or 10% of PTV. D80% of 25 Gy and D50% of 28 Gy in 3 fractions corresponded to 10% VCF risk. On multivariate analysis, lower body mass index (HR 0.90 per unit increase, p = 0.04), total spinal instability neoplastic score (SINS, HR 2.44 unstable vs stable, p = 0.04), and PTV D80% (HR 1.11 for every Gy increase, p = 0.003) were associated with increased VCF risk. Conclusions: SBRT provides excellent tumor control for spinal metastases and is associated with low rate of VCF in our cohort. NTCP modeling suggests that the larger volume of spine receiving lower doses are more closely associated with post-SBRT VCF than high dose regions. Under current target delineation methods, common SBRT regimens such as 24 Gy in 2 fractions or 27 Gy in 3 fractions may be inherently associated with VCF risk of 10% or greater. Consensus contouring guidelines should be reevaluated to minimize the volume of irradiated spine in light of these new data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-149
Number of pages8
JournalRadiotherapy and Oncology
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • NTCP analysis
  • Normal tissue tolerance to radiation
  • Spine metastasis
  • Stereotactic body radiotherapy
  • Vertebral compression fracture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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