Early detection with MRI of incomplete treatment of spine metastases after percutaneous cryoablation

  • Guillaume GravelEmail author
  • Lambros Tselikas
  • Benjamin Moulin
  • Steven Yevich
  • Eric Baudin
  • Antoine Hakime
  • Salma Moalla
  • Fadila Mihoubi
  • Corinne Balleyguier
  • Thierry de Baere
  • Frederic Deschamps



To evaluate post-ablation MRI for the detection of incompletely treated spinal osseous metastases (SOM) after cryoablation and to propose a post-ablation imaging classification.


After IRB consent, all patients treated with cryoablation of SOM between 2011 and 2017 having at least 1-year minimum follow-up and a spine MRI within 4 months after cryoablation were retrospectively included. A classification of MRI images into four types was set up. The primary endpoint of our study was to assess the diagnostic performance of the post-ablation MRI. The secondary endpoints were the 1-year complete treatment rate (CTR) and complications.


Fifty-four SOMs in 39 patients were evaluated. Post-ablation MRI was performed with a median delay of 25 days after cryoablation. Images were evaluated by two independent readers according to the pre-established image classification. Sensitivity and specificity for the detection of residual tumor were 77.3% (95%CI = 62.2–88.5) and 85.9% (95%CI = 75.0–93.4), respectively. Types I, II, III, and IV of the classification were associated with a 1-year complete treatment in 100%, 83.3%, 35.7%, and 10% of cases, respectively. The 1-year CTR was 59.3% for all 54 metastases, and 95.8% for metastases measuring less than 25 mm and at least 2 mm or more away from the spinal canal. Two grade 3 and two grade 2 adverse events according to the CTCAE were reported.


MRI after cryoablation is useful for the evaluation of the ablation efficacy. The classification of post-cryoablation MRI provides reliable clues for the prediction of complete treatment at 1 year.

Key Points

• MRI performed 25 days after cryoablation is useful to evaluate the efficacy.

• The proposed classification provides a reliable clue for complete cryoablation.

• Percutaneous cryoablation of spinal metastases is highly effective for lesions less than 25 mm in diameter and of at least 2 mm away from the spinal canal.


Cryotherapy Neoplasm metastasis Spine Magnetic resonance imaging 



Complete treatment rate




Spinal osseous metastases


Stereotactic body radiotherapy



The authors state that this work has not received any funding.

Compliance with ethical standards


The scientific guarantor of this publication is Dr. Frederic Deschamps.

Conflict of interest

The authors of this manuscript declare no relationships with any companies, whose products or services may be related to the subject matter of the article.

Statistics and biometry

No complex statistical methods were necessary for this paper.

Informed consent

Written informed consent was waived by the Institutional Review Board.

Ethical approval

Institutional Review Board approval was obtained.


• retrospective

• diagnostic study

• performed at one institution


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Copyright information

© European Society of Radiology 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guillaume Gravel
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lambros Tselikas
    • 1
  • Benjamin Moulin
    • 1
  • Steven Yevich
    • 1
  • Eric Baudin
    • 2
  • Antoine Hakime
    • 1
  • Salma Moalla
    • 1
    • 3
  • Fadila Mihoubi
    • 3
  • Corinne Balleyguier
    • 3
  • Thierry de Baere
    • 1
  • Frederic Deschamps
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Interventional RadiologyGustave Roussy Cancer CenterVillejuifFrance
  2. 2.Department of Nuclear Medicine and Endocrine OncologyGustave Roussy Cancer CenterVillejuifFrance
  3. 3.Department of Diagnostic RadiologyGustave Roussy Cancer CenterVillejuifFrance

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