Classification and scoring systems for metastatic spine tumors: a literature review


Yasuaki Tokuhashi, Hiroshi Uei, Masashi Oshima

Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Nihon University School of Medicine, Japan


Introduction: Accurate evaluation of metastasis and life prognosis is essential for selecting a suitable therapeutic strategy for metastatic spine tumors owing to limitations in treatment options. For this purpose, various classification, evaluation, and scoring systems have been developed.
Methods: Classification, evaluation, and scoring systems for metastatic spine tumors reported to date were identified by performing a literature search on PubMed. We reviewed the most cited classifications and scorings before 2009, and all classifications and scorings reported after 2010 from the search results.
Results: Six classifications and 23 scorings were reviewed. The classification/evaluation methods are divided into 1) anatomical classification/evaluation methods, 2) evaluation methods for neurological symptoms/instability, and 3) scoring systems for predicting life expectancy. The first 2 were useful for the planning and evaluation of surgical indications. Scoring systems for life prognosis also permitted rough prediction of the outcomes and were useful for the selection of a suitable treatment. However, variation of the patient background, diversity of adopted prognostic factors, and the absence of scoring systems that could predict the outcome with an accuracy of 90% or higher introduced some limitations.
Conclusion: The identified classification, evaluation, and scoring systems have been generally useful for treatment strategies. However, we emphasize the necessity of multidisciplinary development and revision of classification and evaluation methods to adapt to the prolongation of survival associated with increased diversity and improvement of treatment options.

Released: April 27, 2017; doi: