Case Series: "Silent" spinal epidural metastases in metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer

Dhanusha Sabanathan, Andrew O. Parsonson*, John J. Park, Howard Gurney

*Corresponding author for this work

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Introduction: Spinal epidural metastases (SEM) are an uncommon phenomenon and traditionally occur as a preterminal event in heavily pre-treated patients. The introduction of novel anti-androgen therapies, such as enzalutamide and abiraterone acetate, has greatly improved the survival of patients with metastatic prostate cancer but may be changing the pattern of disease. Case Presentation: Four patients diagnosed with metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) were commenced on enzalutamide prior to chemotherapy. Baseline scans in all patients demonstrated extensive bony disease and lymph node involvement. All patients experienced a moderate initial PSA response to treatment (median PSA at baseline 53.5 ng/mL to median nadir 24.5 ng/mL). In all four cases, clinical presentation of spinal cord compression was unexpected with no prodromal neurological symptoms, PSA levels either stable or slowly rising, and CT scans and whole-body bone scans showing stable disease at other metastatic sites. Whole-spine MRI on presentation of neurological deficits showed epidural and dural metastases on the background of stable bone disease. Spinal cord compression occurred at a median of 11.4 months after starting enzalutamide. Conclusion: Clinicians should be aware of this change in the pattern of CRPC in patients treated with novel anti-androgen therapy. Onset of "silent"spinal cord compression due to SEM rather than bone metastases, can occur relatively early with minimal warning despite stable disease on PSA and standard imaging. Differential progression in nontraditional sites suggests that research into the androgen microenvironment in a wide range of tissue sites should be undertaken, and may explain why prostate cancer metastasizes preferentially to bone and lymph nodes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1370-1377
Number of pages8
JournalCase Reports in Oncology
Issue number1
Early online date10 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2023. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Case report
  • Dural metastasis
  • Enzalutamide
  • Nonsteroidal anti-androgens
  • Prostate cancer


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