Metastatic spinal cord compression in prostate cancer clinical and morphological studies

University dissertation from Umeå : Umeå universitet

Abstract: Background: Bone metastases occur in most patients with advanced hormone-refractory prostate cancer causing pain, pathologic fractures, and spinal cord compression. Few studies specifically address surgical treatment of metastatic spinal cord compression (MSCC) in prostate cancer. Criteria for identifying patients who may benefit from surgery are poorly defined. Most of the current knowledge regarding tumor biology in prostate cancer is based on studies of primary tumors or soft tissue metastases. The mechanisms regulating growth of bone metastases are not fully established.Aims: a) to evaluate outcome after surgery for MSCC in prostate cancer and to identify prognostic factors for survival and functional recovery; b) to evaluate current practice for referral of prostate cancer patients with MSCC; c) to analyze expression of androgen receptor (AR), cell proliferation, apoptosis, and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in bone metastases with regard to survival after surgery for complications of bone metastases.Patients and Methods: We retrospectively evaluated the hospital records of 68 consecutive patients operated for metastatic spinal cord compression. Tumor tissue from bone metastases was obtained on spinal surgery (54 patients), fracture surgery (4 patients) and biopsy (2 patients), and analyzed by immunohistochemistry.Results:Study I: Mortality and complication rate after surgery was high. Patients with hormone-naïve disease and those with hormone-refractory disease with good performance status and without visceral metastases had more favorable survival. The ability to walk after surgery was related to better survival.Study II: A new score for prognosis of survival after surgery for spinal cord compression includes: hormone status of prostate cancer, Karnofsky performance status, evidence of visceral metastasis, and preoperative serum PSA. The score is simple, tumor specific, and easy to apply in clinical practice.Study III: Our results suggest that delays in diagnosis and treatment may have negative impact on functional outcome. Pretreatment ability to walk, hormone status of prostate cancer, and time from loss of ambulation influenced neurological recovery after surgery for spinal cord compression.Study IV: High nuclear AR immunostaining in bone metastases and high preoperative serum PSA were associated with a poor outcome after metastasis surgery in patients with hormone-refractory prostate cancer. Short-term effect of castration therapy disclosed that nuclear AR immunostaining was decreased and apoptosis was increased, but cell proliferation remained largely unaffected.Conclusion:  Prostate cancer patients with metastatic spinal cord compression represent a heterogeneous group. We identified prognostic factors for survival and functional outcome, which may help clinicians in making decisions about treatment. Our results also implicate the need for development of local and regional guidelines for treatment of patients with spinal cord compression, as well as the importance of information to patients at risk.