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Indian Journal of Medical and Paediatric Oncology
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Year : 2003  |  Volume : 24  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 13-16

Spinal cord compression secondary to malignancy : an audit from a single institution


Department of Medical, The AGA KHAN University, Karachi, Pakistan

Correspondence Address:
IA Burney
Department of Medical, The AGA KHAN University, Karachi, Pakistan

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


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Objective: To report the presenting clinical features and outcomes of the treatment of adult cancer patients presenting with spinal cord compression (SCC) at a single institution Setting: Tertiary referral and a specialist hematology / oncology center in Southern Pakistan. Methods: Retrospective, chart-based review of adult patients (more than 14 years) admitted to the hospital with a diagnosis of SCC over a period of 4 years was undertaken. Results: A total of 95 patients were diagnosed to have SCC during the study period. There were 56 males and 39 females. The mean age was 53 plus 14 years. Breast (29), lung (22) and prostate (9) cancers, multiple myeloma (7), and Ewing's sarcoma involving the vertebral body (7) were the common underlying malignancies. 40 percent of patients presented with leucocytosis, and 30 percent with acute renal failure. 6 percent presented with hypercalcemia. Symptoms included back pain (70 percent), lower limb motor weakness (63 percent), autonomic disturbances (43 percent), and decreased sensations (12 percent). The sites of involvement were lumbar spine (33.7 percent), thoracic spine (29.5 percent), multiple (26.3 percent), cervical spine (8.4 percent). Overall, 47.5 percent patients were able to walk with or without support after a week of diagnosis of SCC after treatment. 25.3 percent patients died within a month of the diagnosis of SCC. The median survival was 21 months. The median survival for prostate, breast and lung cancers were, unreached, 54, and 5 monthsrespectively. Conclusion: The majority of patients with SCC had an underlying breast, lung or prostate cancer or mutiple myeloma in this series. A significant proportion of these patients were salvageable despite the far advanced disease.


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