Spinal metastasis: diagnosis, management and follow-up

Br J Radiol. 2019 Nov;92(1103):20190211. doi: 10.1259/bjr.20190211. Epub 2019 Jul 25.


Spine metastatic disease is an increasingly common occurrence in cancer patients due to improved patient survival. Close proximity of the bony spinal column to the spinal cord limits many conventional treatments for metastatic disease. In the past decade, we have witnessed dramatic advancements in therapies, with improvements in surgical techniques and recent adoption of spine stereotactic radiotherapy techniques leading to improved patient outcomes. Multidisciplinary approaches to patient evaluation, treatment and follow-up are essential. Imaging plays an ever increasing role in disease detection, pre-treatment planning and assessment of patient outcomes. It is important for the radiologist to be familiar with imaging algorithms, best practices for surgery and/or radiotherapy and imaging findings in the post-treatment period that may indicate disease recurrence. In this review, we present a multidisciplinary discussion of spine metastases, with specific focus on pre-treatment imaging, planning, current treatment approaches, and post-treatment assessment.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Immobilization / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures / methods
  • Patient Care Planning
  • Perfusion Imaging / methods
  • Postoperative Care / methods
  • Radiosurgery / methods
  • Spinal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Spinal Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Spinal Neoplasms / therapy