Molecular Markers and Targeted Therapeutics in Metastatic Tumors of the Spine: Changing the Treatment Paradigms

Review of the Literature OBJECTIVE.: To discuss the evolution of molecular signatures and the history and development of targeted therapeutics in metastatic tumor types affecting the spinal column.

Molecular characterization of metastatic spine tumors is expected to usher in a revolution in diagnostic and treatment paradigms. Molecular characterization will provide critical information that can be used for initial diagnosis, prognosticating the ideal treatment strategy, assessment of treatment efficacy, surveillance and monitoring recurrence, and predicting complications, clinical outcome, and overall survival in patients diagnosed with metastatic cancers to the spinal column.

A review of the literature was performed focusing on illustrative examples of the role that molecular based therapeutics have played in clinical outcomes for patients diagnosed with metastatic tumor types affecting the spinal column.

The impact of molecular therapeutics including receptor tyrosine kinases and immune checkpoint inhibitors and the ability of molecular signatures to provide prognostic information are discussed in metastatic breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, melanoma, and renal cell cancer affecting the spinal column.

For the providers who will ultimately counsel patients diagnosed with metastases to the spinal column, molecular advancements will radically alter the management/surgical paradigms utilized. Ultimately, the translation of these molecular advancements into routine clinical care will greatly improve the quality and quantity of life for patients diagnosed with spinal malignancies and provide better overall outcomes and counseling for treating physicians.


Spine. 2016 Aug 03 [Epub ahead of print]

C Rory Goodwin, Nancy Abu-Bonsrah, Laurence D Rhines, Jorrit-Jan Verlaan, Mark Bilsky, Ilya Laufer, Stefano Boriani, Daniel M Sciubba, Chetan Bettegowda

*Department of Neurosurgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA †Department of Neurosurgery, MD Anderson Cancer Center, The University of Texas, Houston, TX, USA ‡Department of Orthopedic Surgery, University Medical Center Utrecht §Department of Neurological Surgery, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA ¶Department of Oncologic and Degenerative Spine Surgery, Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute, Bologna Italy.