Jian Yang et al
The surgical treatment of upper cervical spine metastases are controversial up to now. By summarizing and analyzing the clinical data of the upper cervical spine involved metastases treated surgically in our center, we mainly aimed to investigate the surgical decisions and outcomes so as to provide more references for the clinical treatment of this special and complex spine metastasis.
We evaluated the patients’ pre- and post-operative neck pain and neurologic function with paired t test, followed by the statistics of the selection of surgical approaches, ways of reconstruction, and related complications. Moreover, the Kaplan–Meier survival analysis was adopted to analyze the patients’ survival according to different growth group (rapid, moderate, and slow).
There were 39 patients with atlantoaxial metastases in this study. The most common symptom (94.87%) was occipital-cervical pain, which relieved greatly after surgical interventions (p < 0.01). The metastases mainly resulted from lung cancer and nasopharyngeal cancer with an incidence of 38.46 and 10.26%, respectively. As to different growth group, the rapid-growth tumors accounted for 69.23% in all atlantoaxial metastases. Tumor resection and stabilization were performed mainly via the combined anterior and posterior approach (66.67%). The 1-, 2-, and 3-year overall survival rate at the last follow-up was 58.5, 40, and 28.3%, respectively, with a median survival time of 18 months. The rate of complications associated with the surgical intervention was 12.82% (5/39), which is lower than that of the previous reports and generally controllable.
Relatively radical interventions with surgery for upper cervical spine metastases offered satisfactory outcomes with a low mortality. Together with adjuvant therapy, surgical treatment benefits patients with atlantoaxial metastases by relieving regional pain, restoring or improving the neurologic function, stabilizing the quality of life, and prolonging the survival time of such patients.