Published On: Fri, Jun 7th, 2013

“An innovative minimally invasive technique to treat spine cancer tumors, delivering a personalized service and preserving the patient’s quality of life”

IMG_6624Miami June - The spine is the most common site for skeletal metastases (metastases is the spread of cancer cells from their original site to other regions in the body), representing a common problem which affects more than 100,000 people a year in the US alone. It is estimated that over 20,000 of these patients will develop  spinal cord compression from this. For many years, conventional radiation therapy has been the mainstay of treatment for patients with metastatic spinal tumors. Unfortunately, the high toxicity encountered has been a significant limitation of this approach.  The use of spinal stereotactic body radiation therapy, for short “spinal SBRT”, in the management of spinal and paraspinal primary and metastatic tumors has decreased toxicity, representing a natural extension of the principles of intracranial radiosurgery. However, in comparison to intracranial radiosurgery, spinal SBRT commonly requires larger treatment volumes in proximity to numerous organs at risk, combined with the inability to utilize rigid, frame-based immobilization. All these factors contribute to the substantially more complex nature of spinal SBRT.

Why choose Spinal SBRT?

Beyond the convenience of a shorter duration of treatment, spinal radiosurgery affords to deliver a greater biological equivalent dose to a lesion than conventional radiotherapy fractionation schemes. This translates into a much higher tumor control and fast pain relief for the patients. The minimally invasive nature of this approach is consistent with recent trends in open spinal surgery and helps to maintain or improve a patient's quality of life. Spinal radiosurgery has expanded the resources available for neurosurgical treatment for patients with spinal and paraspinal metastasis.

“Spinal and paraspinal metastases are common complications in late cancer. The incidence of spinal metastasis is increasing because patients are living longer and chemotherapy is getting better.” -Says Dr. Beatriz Amendola, Radiation Oncologist and director of the Innovative Cancer Center (ICI) in Miami, Florida.  “In comparison with other treatment options, Spinal SBRT is not only a more advanced and accurate treatment for patients, but most importantly is the increase in quality of life that the patient is able to have during this treatment time.” -Affirms Dr. Amendola.

Spinal SBRT Treatment

By definition, SBRT is delivered in 1 to 5 fractions.  This hypofractionated scheme (a dosage of radiation that is divided into several large doses that are given every few days) has been successful in the management of benign and malignant tumors of the spine.  This emerging modality of treatment can be safely used, not only for management of primary tumors, but also for metastatic disease.

The INNOVATIVE CANCER INSTITUTE has been chosen as one of the Top Cancer Centers in 2013 for making a difference not only in patient lives but also for being one step ahead of others in this specialty. This center, located in South Florida, will be featured in the Imaging Technology News magazine.


Beatriz Amendola, M.D., F.A.C.R., FASTRO is Board Certified in Therapeutic Radiology by the American Board of Radiology.  She completed her residency in Radiation Oncology at the Medical College of Virginia, in Richmond, Virginia in 1980.  Dr. Amendola was an Assistant and then Associate Professor at the Department of Radiation Oncology of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She was Acting Chairman of the Department of Radiation Oncology for four years. In 1985, she moved to Philadelphia where she was Director of Residency Training in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Hahnemann University. In 1989, she moved to Miami, FL where she was appointed Associate Professor and Director of Residency Training at the University of Miami, Department of Radiation Oncology.

Currently, Dr. Amendola has an independent practice in Radiation Oncology, and she has privileges at multiple South Florida hospitals. She is a member of many professional medical societies in USA, Europe, and Latin America. In 1999, she was awarded the Fellowship from the American College of Radiology and in 2009 the Fellowship of the American Society of Radiation Therapy and Oncology (ASTRO). She serves on several national and international cancer committees. Dr. Amendola has written 56 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals and 12 book chapters. She has extensive experience in the use of radiation therapy for cancer as well as the use of radiation for the treatment of benign diseases. Her main areas of expertise include breast cancer, prostate cancer, brain tumors, head and neck cancer, and pediatric radiation therapy. She has extensive experience in radiosurgery using Gamma Knife and CyberKnife.

For further information or to make your appointment call the Innovative Cancer Center at 305- 669- 6833 or email or visit

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