The Challenges of Renal Cell Carcinoma Metastatic to the Spine: A Systematic Review of Survival and Treatment

C. Rory Goodwin, A. Karim Ahmed, Christine Boone, Nancy Abu-Bonsrah, Risheng Xu, Niccole Germscheid, Daryl R. Fourney, Michelle Clarke, Ilya Laufer, Charles G. Fisher, Chetan Bettegowda, Daniel M. Sciubba

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Study Design: Systematic review. Objectives: The objective of this systematic review was to answer 2 key questions: (1) What is the clinical presentation and probability of symptomatic improvement following treatment for patients with renal cell carcinoma (RCC) of the spine? (2) What is the overall survival of patients diagnosed with spinal metastases from RCC? Methods: A literature review was performed to identify articles that reported on survival, clinical outcomes, and/or prognostic factors in the RCC population with spinal metastases from 1986 to 2016. Results: Forty-eight articles (807 patients) were included. The Fuhrman Nuclear Grade has been significantly associated with survival in previous studies but was underpowered in the current study. The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Score (MSKCC/Motzer) was also underpowered in the current study. From the time of spinal metastasis, the mean and median survival for patients with previously diagnosed primary RCC was 8.75 and 11.7 months, respectively, whereas synchronously diagnosed patients (primary RCC and spinal metastasis) had a mean and median survival of 6.75 and 11 months, respectively. Patients with a “low” (0-8), “intermediate” (9-11), or “high” (12-15) revised Tokuhashi score at initial presentation had a median survival of 5.4, 11.7, and 32.9 months, respectively. Conclusion: Patients with either a synchronous or latent diagnosis of RCC survived greater than 6 months from the time of presentation. Initial Furhman grade, Tokuhashi score, and MSKCC/Motzer can be useful tools in informing patient-specific prognosis for those with metastatic RCC of the spine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)517-526
Number of pages10
JournalGlobal Spine Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018


  • Tokuhashi score
  • kidney cancer
  • radiation therapy
  • renal cell carcinoma
  • spine metastasis
  • survival
  • tumor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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