Epidural Tumors and Metastases

  • Krisztina Moldovan
  • Jared Fridley
  • Thomas Kosztowski
  • Ziya GokaslanEmail author


Tumors originating from the spinal column can be categorized into either primary or metastatic tumors. Primary spinal tumors are relatively rare, comprising less than 10% of all spinal neoplasms, while metastatic spine disease is quite common [1, 2]. Cancer was the second most common cause of death in the United States in 2016 [3]. Complications from metastatic disease are one of the major causes of morbidity and mortality in cancer patients [4]. The skeletal system follows the lung and liver as the third most commonly affected by metastatic disease, and within the skeletal system, the spine is the most frequently involved bone structure [5–8]. Autopsy studies have reported vertebral metastases in 90% of patients with prostate cancer, 74% of those with breast cancer, 45% with lung cancer, and 29% with lymphoma or renal cell carcinoma [9]. Vertebral metastases are a significant cause of pain and suffering in cancer patients, as they can affect neurological function, mobility, and quality of life [10, 11]. Studies have shown that up to half of patients with spinal metastases end up needing some kind of treatment for their symptoms, and 5–10% require surgical intervention [1, 4, 12, 13]. Improving systemic treatments for cancer and lengthened overall survival for cancer patients continue to improve, which has led to an increased overall incidence of spinal metastases [3].


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Krisztina Moldovan
    • 1
  • Jared Fridley
    • 1
  • Thomas Kosztowski
    • 1
  • Ziya Gokaslan
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of NeurosurgeryWarren Alpert Medical School of Brown UniversityProvidenceUSA

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