By: 9 August 2015
Does spinal fusion BMP increase cancer risk in children?

Does spinal fusion BMP increase cancer risk in children?

A new study published in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics suggests that the use of recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 (rhBMP-2) for spinal fusion surgeries in paediatric patients may not pose an increased cancer risk.

Researchers retrospectively reviewed 57 consecutive cases involving paediatric patients who underwent posterior occipitocervical, cervical, thoracic, lumbar or lumbosacral spinal fusion at Texas Children’s Hospital between October 2007 and June 2011. Seven of the cases were excluded from further analysis because of loss of follow-up, and three patients died during the follow-up period. The patients’ cancer status was determined at the most recent encounter with the patient and/or caretaker in person or through telephone follow-up. The average age of the patients at the time of surgery was 11 years and four months, and on average patients were followed up 48.4 months after surgery.

The study showed that there were no cases of new malignancy, degeneration or metastasis of existing tumours two years or more after surgery with rhBMP-2. Among the patients that died, the cause of death during the study period wasn’t related to the BMP use or the development, degeneration or metastasis of cancer.

“Outcomes with rhBMP-2 in the paediatric population suggest that it is a safe adjunct to posterior spine fusion of the occipitocervical, cervical, thoracic, lumbar and lumbosacral spine,” concluded the authors.

Source: OrthoSpineNews


Sayama, C., Willsey, M., Chintagumpala, M., et al. (2015) Routine use of recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein–2 in posterior fusions of the paediatric spine and incidence of cancer. J. Neurosurg. Ped. 16(1), 4–13