Intra-arterial Chemotherapy for Spinal Metastases (SIAC)

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Dr. Athos Patsalides

Metastatic malignant tumors comprise the vast majority of spinal tumors in adults. The most devastating complication of spinal metastatic disease (SMD) is invasion of the spinal canal and compression of the spinal cord or the nerve roots of the cauda equina, resulting in a clinical entity known as cord compression that manifests with progressive loss of motor function and sensation in the legs, as well as bladder and bowel incontinence.

The treatment of spinal metastases is mostly palliative with the goals of improving or maintaining neurologic function, achieving local tumor control, and spinal stability. Most patients with spinal metastatic disease are currently treated effectively with radiation therapy and/or surgery with good results. There are however certain limitations in the current treatment of SMD. Radiation therapy has two important limitations:
1. If the targeted SMD is in close proximity the spinal cord, delivery of high radiation doses is contraindicated as it may cause radiation-induced damage to the spinal cord (myelopathy.

2. There is limit to the cumulative amount of radiation dose, which means that recurrent tumors may not be amenable to repeat radiation therapy. As far spinal surgery is concerned, the main limitation is that some patients are not fit for surgery because of medical co-morbidities.

This Phase I clinical research trial will test the hypothesis that a new minimally invasive treatment called spinal intra-arterial chemotherapy (SIAC) can be safely applied in patients with SMD.

Contact: Athos Patsalides, M.D. ( or Kimberly Salvaggio, RN (212-746-4998)

For more information on the trial, see