Background: The Spinal Instability Neoplastic Score (SINS) categorizes tumor related spinal instability. It has the potential to streamline the referral of patients with established or potential spinal instability to a spine surgeon. This study aims to define the inter- and intra-observer reliability and validity of SINS among radiation oncologists.Methods: Thirty-three radiation oncologists, across ten international sites, rated 30 neoplastic spinal disease cases. For each case, the total SINS (0-18 points), three clinical categories (stable: 0-6 points, potentially unstable: 7-12 points, and unstable: 13-18 points), and a binary scale ('stable': 0-6 points and 'current or possible instability'; surgical consultation recommended: 7-18 points) were recorded. Evaluation was repeated 6-8 weeks later. Inter-observer agreement and intra-observer reproducibility were calculated by means of the kappa statistic and translated into levels of agreement (slight, fair, moderate, substantial, and excellent). Validity was determined by comparing the ratings against a spinal surgeon's consensus standard.Results: Radiation oncologists demonstrated substantial (κ = 0.76) inter-observer and excellent (κ = 0.80) intra-observer reliability when using the SINS binary scale ('stable' versus 'current or possible instability'). Validity of the binary scale was also excellent (κ = 0.85) compared with the gold standard. None of the unstable cases was rated as stable by the radiation oncologists ensuring all were appropriately recommended for surgical consultation.Conclusions: Among radiation oncologists SINS is a highly reliable, reproducible, and valid assessment tool to address a key question in tumor related spinal disease: Is the spine 'stable' or is there 'current or possible instability' that warrants surgical assessment?
- Neoplasm metastasis
- Radiation oncology
- Reliability and validity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging