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Incidence and prognosis of patients with spinal metastasis as the initial manifestation of malignancy

analysis of 338 patients undergoing surgical treatment

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This study aimed to evaluate the incidence and prognosis of patients with spinal metastasis as the initial manifestation of malignancy (SM-IMM).

Patients and Methods

We retrospectively reviewed the electronic medical records of 338 patients who underwent surgical treatment for metastatic spinal disease. The enrolled patients were divided into two groups. The SM-IMM group included patients with no history of malignancy whose site of primary malignancy was diagnosed after the identification of spinal metastasis. The other group included patients with a history of treatment for primary malignancy who then developed spinal metastasis (SM-DTM). The incidence of SM-IMM by site of primary malignancy was calculated. The difference between prognoses after surgical treatment for SM-IMM and SM-DTM was established.


The median follow-up period was 11.5 months (interquartile range (IQR) 3.2 to 13.4) after surgical treatment. During the follow-up period, 264 patients died; 74 patients survived. The SM-IMM group consisted of 94 patients (27.8%). The site of primary malignancy in the SM-IMM group was lung in 35/103 patients (34.0%), liver in 8/45 patients (17.8%), kidney in 10/33 patients (30.3%), colorectum in 3/29 patients (10.3%), breast in 3/22 patients (13.6%), prostate in 3/10 patients (30%), thyroid in 4/8 patients (50%), and ‘other’ in 28/88 patients (31.8%). On Kaplan–Meier survival analysis, the SM-IMM group showed a significantly longer survival than the SM-DTM group (p = 0.013). The mean survival time was 23.0 months (95% confidence interval (CI) 15.5 to 30.5) in the SM-IMM group and 15.5 months (95% CI 11.8 to 19.2) in the SM-DTM group.


Of the 338 enrolled patients who underwent surgical treatment for spinal metastasis, 94 patients (27.8%) underwent surgical treatment for SM-IMM. The SM-IMM group had an acceptable prognosis with surgical treatment.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2019;101-B:1379–1384.

Correspondence should be sent to S-J. Park; email:

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