New Clinical Trial Tests Safety of New Approach to Spinal Metastatic Tumors

Dr. Athos Patsalides is now enrolling patients in a Phase I research study on spinal metastatic disease (SMD). This new trial will test the safety of a new minimally invasive treatment called spinal intra-arterial chemotherapy (SIAC) in patients with SMD.

As many as 10 percent of cancer patients will develop a metastatic spinal tumor during the course of their disease — metastasis from another cancer is the most common cause of malignant spinal tumors in adults. The most devastating complication of spinal metastasis is the invasion of the spinal canal and compression of the spinal cord or the nerve roots of the cauda equina, resulting in "cord compression" that can cause loss of motor function and sensation in the legs, as well as bladder and bowel incontinence.

Most patients with spinal metastasis are currently treated with radiation therapy and/or surgery. Some patients are not good candidates for surgery, and many can't be given radiation (either because they've reached the cumulative limit on radiation or because the tumor is too close to the spinal cord itself). Patients who are not good candidates for either surgery or radiation have had no other option for treating SMD.

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. In this trial, a chemotherapy drug called Melphalan will be injected directly into the arteries feeding the metastatic spinal tumor. Intra-arterial chemotherapy has previously been used for the treatment of liver metastasis and for eye tumors (ocular retinoblastoma) with good results; this clinical trial will test whether it is similarly effective against metastatic spinal tumors. The goal is to achieve local control of the tumor, preventing neurological damage from cord compression.

For more information, or to inquire about enrolling in this clinical trial, contact the Principal Investigator, Athos Patsalides, M.D., at 212-746-2821 or by emailing


Study coordinator: Kimberly Salvaggio, N.P.

Details can be found on the trial's page on

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