Global Spine J 2014; 04(02): 129-136
DOI: 10.1055/s-0034-1375560
Review Article
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Incorporating the Spine Instability Neoplastic Score into a Treatment Strategy for Spinal Metastasis: LMNOP

Zurab Ivanishvili
Division of Neurosurgery, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
Daryl R. Fourney
Division of Neurosurgery, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

19 April 2013

20 March 2014

Publication Date:
28 April 2014 (eFirst)


Study Design Review.

Objective To describe a decision framework that incorporates key factors to be considered for optimal treatment of spinal metastasis and highlight how this system incorporates the Spinal Instability Neoplastic Score (SINS).

Methods We describe how treatment options for spinal metastasis have broadened in recent years with advancements in stereotactic radiosurgery, vertebral augmentation, and other minimally invasive techniques. We discuss classification-based approaches to the treatment of spinal metastasis versus principles-based approaches and argue that the latter may be more appropriate for optimal patient informed consent. Case examples are provided.

Results Scoring systems at best produce an estimate of life expectancy but fall short in incorporating all of the relevant factors that determine which treatment(s) may be indicated. We advocate a principle-based decision framework called LMNOP that considers: (L) location of disease with respect to the anterior and/or posterior columns of the spine and number of spinal levels involved (contiguous or non-contiguous); (M) mechanical instability as graded by SINS; (N) neurology (symptomatic epidural spinal cord compression); (O) oncology (histopathologic diagnosis), particularly with respect to radiosensitivity; and (P) patient fitness, patient wishes, prognosis (which is mostly dependent on tumor type), and response to prior therapy.

Conclusions LMNOP is the first systematic approach to spinal metastasis that incorporates SINS. It is easy to remember, it addresses clinical factors not directly addressed by other systems, and it is adaptable to changes in technology.