Objective: In adults, spinal ependymomas constitute only 3% to 6% of central nervous system tumors. Because of their rarity and poor prognosis, large population-based studies are needed to assess the epidemiology and survival risk factors associated with these tumors in the hope of improving outcome. The authors undertook this retrospective study to explore factors that may influence survival in adult patients with spinal ependymomas. Methods: Using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database, a prospective cancer registry, the authors retrospectively assessed survival in histologically confirmed spinal ependymomas in patients 18 years of age and older. Survival was described with Kaplan-Meier curves, and a multivariate regression analysis was used to assess the association of several variables with survival while controlling for confounding variables. Results: Overall survival at 1 year, 3 years, and 5 years after diagnosis was 97.0%, 94.3%, and 93.3%, respectively. Patient age at diagnosis (hazard ratio [HR] 1.05, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.04–1.07, P < 0.001), tumor grade IV (HR 11.11, 95% CI 1.27–97.02, P = 0.032), and the use of radiation therapy during the course of treatment (HR 4.42, 95% CI 1.69–11.57, P = 0.003) were each associated with decreased survival. Gross total resection (HR 0.42, 95% CI 0.20–1.10, P = 0.026) was associated with improved overall survival. Gender, tumor size, and tumor extension were not found to impact survival. Conclusions: High-grade ependymomas occurring in the spine have a much worse prognosis than do those with lower grades. Early diagnosis and surgery appear to be associated with improved survival and outcomes, whereas radiation therapy has an unclear role.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology