CT scans are often performed in the process of monitoring of advanced prostate cancer disease progression. One of the most serious impacts of advanced prostate cancer is spinal compression, which can lead to paralysis and significant pain. Being able to use the CT scan as a red flag warning about potential spinal cord compression could help a physician stay on top of this serious turn of events.

In a study evaluating the CT scans potential to warn about a pending spinal cord compression 34 men with existing malignant spinal cord compression and who also had at least three prior CT scans were evaluated against a control group of 58 men without malignant spinal cord compression.

The researchers report that their study found that CT scans performed approximately 28 days prior to spinal cord compression showed paravertebral soft tissue thickening in 80% of the men in the investigational group. This soft tissue thickening was not found in the men in the control group.

The researchers went on to say that this CT finding in patients should warrant their being follow-upped with a MRI to evaluate for impending compression and possible prophylactic treatment.

Clin Radiol 2015 Apr 01;70(4)359-365, C Pezaro, A Omlin, R Perez-Lopez, D Mukherji, G Attard, D Bianchini, D Lorente, C Parker, D Dearnaley, JS de Bono, A Sohaib, N Tunariu


Joel T. Nowak, M.A., M.S.W.