A quantitative and comparative evaluation of stereotactic spine radiosurgery local control: proposing a consistent measurement methodology

Ran Harel, Tehila Kaisman-Elbaz, Todd Emch, Paul Elson, Samuel T. Chao, John H. Suh, Lilyana Angelov*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE Stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) is a precise and conformal treatment modality used in the management of metastatic spine tumors. Multiple studies have demonstrated its safety and efficacy for pain and tumor control. However, no uniform quantitative imaging methodology exists to evaluate response to treatment in these patients. This study presents radiographic local control rates post-SBRT, systematically compares measurements acquired according to WHO and Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST) criteria, and explores the relationship to patient outcome. METHODS The authors performed a retrospective review of prospectively obtained data from a cohort of 59 consecutive patients (81 metastatic isocenters) treated with SBRT and followed with serial MRI scans. Measurements were performed by a neuroradiologist blinded to the patients’ clinical course. Local control status was determined according to both WHO and RECIST measurements, and agreement between the measuring methodologies was calculated and reported. RESULTS Eighty-one isocenters (111 vertebral bodies) were treated with SBRT. The mean treatment dose was 13.96 Gy and the median follow-up duration was 10.8 months, during which 408 MRI scans were evaluated with both WHO and RECIST criteria for each scan point. Imaging demonstrated a mean unidimensional size decrease of 0.2 cm (p = 0.14) and a mean area size decrease of 0.99 cm2 (p = 0.03). Although 88% of the case classifications were concordant and the agreement was significant, WHO criteria were found to be more sensitive to tumor size change. The local control rates according to WHO and RECIST were 95% and 98%, respectively. CONCLUSIONS Although WHO volumetric measurements are admittedly superior for tumor size measurement, RECIST is simpler, reproducible, and for the first time is shown here to be comparable to WHO criteria. Thus, the application of RECIST methodology appears to be a suitable standard for evaluating post-SBRT treatment response. Moreover, using comprehensive and consistent measuring approaches, this study substantiates the efficacy of SBRT in the treatment of spine metastases. https://thejns.org/doi/abs/10.3171/2022.8.FOCUS22363

Original languageEnglish
Article numberE10
JournalNeurosurgical Focus
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Local control
  • Recist
  • Response evaluation criteria in solid tumors
  • Spinal metastases
  • Spine radiosurgery
  • Stereotactic body radiation therapy
  • Who


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