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The Role of Prognostic Scoring Systems in Assessing Surgical Candidacy for Patients With Vertebral Metastasis: A Narrative Review.

Global Spine Journal 2018 September
STUDY DESIGN: Narrative review.

OBJECTIVES: To review the relevant literature regarding scoring systems for vertebral metastases and quantify their role in contemporary orthopedic practice.

METHODS: A literature search of PubMed, Google Scholar, and Embase was performed on February 7, 2017. Eight scoring systems were selected for detailed review-7 of which were scores focused solely on patient prognosis (Tokuhashi, Tomita, Bauer, Oswestry Spinal Risk Index, Van der Linden, Rades, and Katagiri). The eighth system reviewed was the Spinal Instability Neoplastic Score, which examines for impending spinal instability in patients with vertebral metastases and represents a novel approach compared with hitherto scoring systems.

RESULTS: The Bauer and Oswestry Spinal Risk Index have the most accurate prognostic predictive ability, with the newer Oswestry Spinal Risk Index being favored by the contemporary literature as it demands less investigation and is therefore more readily accessible. There was a growing trend in studies designed to customize scoring systems for individual cancer pathological subtypes. The Spinal Instability Neoplastic Score shows good reliability for predicting instability among surgeons and oncologists.

CONCLUSIONS: The increased understanding of cancer pathology and subsequent development of customized treatments has led to prolonged survival. For patients with vertebral metastases, this affects surgical candidacy not only on the basis of prognosis but also provides prolonged opportunity for the development of spinal instability. Scoring systems have a useful guidance role in these deciding for/against surgical intervention, but in order to remain contemporary ongoing review, development, and revalidation is mandatory.

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