Fundamentals of radiation oncology for treatment of vertebral metastases

Sujana Gottumukkala, Udayan Srivastava, Samantha Brocklehurst, J. Travis Mendel, Kiran Kumar, Fang F. Yu, Amit Kumar Agarwal, Bhavya R. Shah, Shaleen Vira, Karuna M. Raj

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The fields of both radiology and radiation oncology have evolved considerably in the past few decades, resulting in an increased abil-ity to delineate between tumor and normal tissue to precisely target and treat vertebral metastases with radiation therapy. These scien-tific advances have also led to improvements in assessing treatment response and diagnosing toxic effects related to radiation treatment. However, despite technological innovations yielding greatly im-proved rates of palliative relief and local control of osseous spinal metastases, radiation therapy can still lead to a number of acute and delayed posttreatment complications. Treatment-related adverse effects may include pain flare, esophageal toxic effects, dermatitis, vertebral compression fracture, radiation myelopathy, and myositis, among others. The authors provide an overview of the multidisci-plinary approach to the treatment of spinal metastases, indications for surgical management versus radiation therapy, various radiation technologies and techniques (along with their applications for spinal metastases), and current principles of treatment planning for conventional and stereotactic radiation treatment. Different radiologic criteria for assessment of treatment response, recent advances in radiologic imaging, and both common and rare complications related to spinal irradiation are also discussed, along with the imaging characteristics of various adverse effects. Familiarity with these topics will not only assist the diagnostic radiologist in assessing treatment response and diagnosing treatment-related complications but will also allow more effective collaboration between diagnostic radiologists and radiation oncologists to guide management deci-sions and ensure high-quality patient care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2136-2156
Number of pages21
Issue number7
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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