Our research aims to discuss the clinical characteristics, treatment methods, and prognostic characteristics of patients with esophageal cancer spinal metastasis. It is one of the largest clinical studies on the disease to date. The purpose is to improve clinicians’ understanding of the clinical features and prognosis of esophageal spine metastases and share our experience in dealing with this entity.
Six patients with spinal metastasis due to esophageal cancer who had received surgical treatment at the bone tumor center of Peking Union Medical College Hospital from January 2010 to January 2020 were selected. The clinical data, surgical records, imaging examinations, pathological reports, and immunohistochemical results of all patients were reviewed by the team. In the study, we applied two surgical treatments, namely open surgery and percutaneous vertebroplasty. Radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy were used as adjuvant treatments. Retrospective analysis of the patient’s basic clinical data were analyzed.
All six patients with metastatic spinal esophageal cancer (MSEC) were male with an average age of 58.0 ± 5.3 years. The average duration between the esophageal cancer resection and diagnosis of spinal metastases was 24.8 (2-72) months. Of the six patients, four had spinal metastases located in the thoracic spine and two had metastases located in the lumbar spine. We referred to the revised Tokuhashi score and Tomita score to recommend individualized surgical treatment plans for patients, and fully respected the patients’ wishes. All six patients underwent surgical treatment, a total of six operations, including four percutaneous vertebroplasty and two open surgery. After the operations, the symptoms of the patients improved significantly. During the follow-up, all six patients died of the disease with the average time from spinal surgery to death being 8.8 ± 3.7 months.
In general, patients with esophageal cancer spine metastases have a poor prognosis, and the average survival time of these patients often does not exceed 12 months. The combination of surgical treatment and postoperative adjuvant therapy can control symptoms effectively and improve the patient’s quality of life.

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