Journal of Neuro-Oncology

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 135–147 | Cite as

Spinal cord compression in prostate cancer

  • Jennifer L. Osborn
  • Robert H. Getzenberg
  • Donald L. Trump


Approximately 200,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1994. While localized disease is potentially curable with surgery or radiation therapy, metastatic disease is incurable. The most frequent site of metastasis is bone. Spinal cord compression occurs in approximately 7% of men with prostate cancer. Back pain often heralds the diagnosis of spinal cord compression. In prostate cancer patients with back pain or signs of myelopathy or radiculopathy, plain radiographs of the spine and magnetic resonance imaging should be performed. Early diagnosis is of utmost importance. The neurologic status prior to treatment is the major determinant influencing outcome. Following diagnosis, corticosteroid therapy should begin immediately. Hormonal therapy should be instituted in those patients who have not previously undergone hormonal manipulation. The standard approach to definitive therapy is radiation. Surgical decompression plays a role in patients with severe myelopathy, spinal instability, and in those patients whose neurologic status deteriorates during or after radiation therapy.

Key words

prostate cancer metastasis spinal cord compression radiotherapy surgery 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer L. Osborn
    • 1
  • Robert H. Getzenberg
    • 2
    • 3
  • Donald L. Trump
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Medicine, Division of Medical OncologyUniversity of Pittsburgh School of MedicinePittsburgh
  2. 2.Department of PathologyUniversity of Pittsburgh School of MedicinePittsburgh
  3. 3.Prostate and Urologic Cancer CenterPittsburgh Cancer InstitutePittsburghUSA

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