Journal of Neuro-Oncology

, Volume 87, Issue 2, pp 173–179

Descriptive epidemiology of primary spinal cord tumors

  • Kate A. Schellinger
  • Jennifer M. Propp
  • J. Lee Villano
  • Bridget J. McCarthy
Clinical-Patient Studies


Object There is little population-based data available on primary spinal cord tumors. Many of the existing statistics are not current or were obtained from surgical series. Historically, population-based data were collected only for malignant tumors, and only recently have data begun to be collected on non-malignant tumors. The objective of this study was to estimate the incidence of both non-malignant and malignant primary spinal cord tumors and to estimate the survival rates for primary malignant spinal cord tumors. Methods Incidence of spinal cord tumors was estimated from cases diagnosed between 1998 and 2002 in 16 CBTRUS collaborating state cancer registries. Age-adjusted rates were generated using SAS (8.2) and standardized to the 2000 US standard population. SEER*Stat 6.1.4 software was used to estimate relative survival for malignant spinal cord tumors for cases diagnosed between 1975 and 2002 in nine SEER regions. Conclusions Of the spinal cord tumors identified (CBTRUS; n = 3,226), 69% were non-malignant. The most common histologic types were meningiomas (29%), nerve sheath tumors (24%), and ependymomas (23%). The overall incidence of spinal cord tumors was 0.74 per 100,000 person-years, with an incidence of 0.77/100,000 in females and 0.70/100,000 in males. The incidence rate was lowest in children (0.26) and peaked in the 75–84 year age group (1.80). Rates were higher in non-Hispanic whites (0.79) than in Hispanics (0.61) or non-Hispanic blacks (0.45). The 1-, 5-, and 10-year survival rates following diagnosis of a primary malignant spinal cord tumor were 85%, 71%, and 64%, respectively (SEER; n = 1,220).


Primary spinal cord tumors Epidemiology Incidence Survival 



Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States


Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program


central nervous system


United States


International Classification of Diseases for Oncology, Third Edition


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


NAACCR Hispanic Identification Algorithm


North American Association of Central Cancer Registries


World Health Organization


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kate A. Schellinger
    • 1
  • Jennifer M. Propp
    • 1
  • J. Lee Villano
    • 2
  • Bridget J. McCarthy
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology/BiostatisticsSchool of Public Health, University of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Medicine, Section of Hematology/OncologyUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA

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