Does spinal fusion BMP increase cancer risk in children? 4 key findings

Written by Laura Dyrda | July 29, 2015 | Print  |

A new study published in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics examines whether rhBMP-2 in pediatric patients increases cancer risk. 

The researchers examined 57 consecutive cases for pediatric patients who underwent posterior occiptocervical, cervical, thoracic, lumbar or lumbosacral spinal fusion. The patients underwent surgery at Texas Children's Hospital from October 2007 to June 2011. There were seven cases excluded due to follow-up loss and three patients died during the follow-up period.


The average patient age at the time of surgery was 11 years and four months. The average follow-up was 48.4 months. The researchers found:


1. There weren't cases of new malignancy, degeneration or metastasis of existing tumors 24 months or more after surgery with rhBMP-2.


2. Among the patients who died, the cause of death during the study period wasn't related to the BMP use or the development, degeneration or metastasis of cancer.


3. The study authors concluded "outcomes with rhBMP-2 in the pediatric population suggest that it is a safe adjunct to posterior spine fusion of the occipitocervical, cervical, thoracic, lumbar and lumbosacral spine."


4. There have been reports of cancer associated with rhBMP-2 use in adults. The patients' cancer status was determined at the most recent encounter with the patient and/or caretaker in person or through telephone follow-up.


More articles on spine surgery:
Spinal fusion: Standalone cage vs. cage-and0plate constructs
Spine surgery patient satisfaction depends on pain, disability improvements
Gender-specific spines found in newborns

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