BACKGROUND: Central tendency analysis studies demonstrate that surgery provides pain relief in spinal metastatic tumors. However, they preclude patient-specific probability of treatment outcome. OBJECTIVE: To use responder analysis to study the variability of pain improvement. METHODS: In this single-center, retrospective analysis, 174 patients were studied. Logistic regression modeling was used to associate preoperative characteristics with rating the Brief Pain Inventory (BPI) worst pain item 0 to 4. Linear regression modeling was used to associate preoperative characteristics with minimal clinically important improvement (MCI) in physical functioning defined by a 1-point decrease in the BPI Interference Construct score from preoperative baseline to 6 months postoperatively. RESULTS: Patient-level analysis revealed that 60% of patients experienced an improvement in pain. At least half experienced a decrease in pain resulting in MCI in physical functioning. Cutpoint analysis revealed that 48% were responders. Increasing scores on the preoperative pain intensity BPI items, the MD Anderson Symptom Inventory (MDASI) Core Symptom Severity Construct, the MDASI Spine Tumor-Specific Construct, the presence of preoperative neurologic deficits, and postoperative complications were associated with lower probability of treatment success while increasing severity in all BPI pain items, and MDASI constructs were associated with increased probability of MCI in physical function. Significant mortality and loss to follow-up intrinsic to this patient population limit the strength of these data. CONCLUSION: Although patients with milder preoperative symptoms are likely to achieve better pain relief after surgery, patients with worse preoperative symptom also benefit from surgery with adequate pain relief with an improvement in physical function.
- Early treatment
- Minimal clinically important change
- Pain outcomes
- Spinal metastases