Radiotherapy for Mobile Spine and Sacral Chordoma: A Critical Review and Practical Guide from the Spine Tumor Academy

Kristin J. Redmond, Stephanie K. Schaub, Sheng fu Larry Lo, Majid Khan, Daniel Lubelski, Mark Bilsky, Yoshiya Yamada, Michael Fehlings, Emile Gogineni, Peter Vajkoczy, Florian Ringel, Bernhard Meyer, Anubhav G. Amin, Stephanie E. Combs, Simon S. Lo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Chordomas are rare tumors of the embryologic spinal cord remnant. They are locally aggressive and typically managed with surgery and either adjuvant or neoadjuvant radiation therapy. However, there is great variability in practice patterns including radiation type and fractionation regimen, and limited high-level data to drive decision making. The purpose of this manuscript was to summarize the current literature specific to radiotherapy in the management of spine and sacral chordoma and to provide practice recommendations on behalf of the Spine Tumor Academy. A systematic review of the literature was performed using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) approach. Medline and Embase databases were utilized. The primary outcome measure was the rate of local control. A detailed review and interpretation of eligible studies is provided in the manuscript tables and text. Recommendations were defined as follows: (1) consensus: approved by >75% of experts; (2) predominant: approved by >50% of experts; (3) controversial: not approved by a majority of experts. Expert consensus supports dose escalation as critical in optimizing local control following radiation therapy for chordoma. In addition, comprehensive target volumes including sites of potential microscopic involvement improve local control compared with focal targets. Level I and high-quality multi-institutional data comparing treatment modalities, sequencing of radiation and surgery, and dose/fractionation schedules are needed to optimize patient outcomes in this locally aggressive malignancy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2359
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • carbon ion therapy
  • heavy ion therapy
  • proton therapy
  • radiation therapy
  • spine and sacral chordoma
  • stereotactic body radiation therapy


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