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International Journal of Surgical Oncology
Volume 2011, Article ID 107969, 8 pages
Review Article

Physiopathology of Spine Metastasis

1Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Agostino Gemelli Hospital, Catholic University, L.go F. Vito, 1-00168 Rome, Italy
2Department of Orthopaedics, Messina University, Via Consolare Valeria, 1-98122 Messina, Italy

Received 7 February 2011; Accepted 1 June 2011

Academic Editor: Alessandro Gasbarrini

Copyright © 2011 Giulio Maccauro et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The metastasis is the spread of cancer from one part of the body to another. Two-thirds of patients with cancer will develop bone metastasis. Breast, prostate and lung cancer are responsible for more than 80% of cases of metastatic bone disease. The spine is the most common site of bone metastasis. A spinal metastasis may cause pain, instability and neurological injuries. The diffusion through Batson venous system is the principal process of spinal metastasis, but the dissemination is possible also through arterial and lymphatic system or by contiguity. Once cancer cells have invaded the bone, they produce growth factors that stimulate osteoblastic or osteolytic activity resulting in bone remodeling with release of other growth factors that lead to a vicious cycle of bone destruction and growth of local tumour.