Published online Feb 18, 2016. doi: 10.5312/wjo.v7.i2.109
Peer-review started: May 18, 2015
First decision: August 19, 2015
Revised: September 20, 2015
Accepted: November 13, 2015
Article in press: November 17, 2015
Published online: February 18, 2016
Core tip: Primary tumors involving the spine are rare, while spinal column metastases are present in up to 70% of cancer patients. Both primary and metastatic tumors of the spine are often asymptomatic or have non-specific symptoms because in spine tumors, delayed diagnosis is not very unusual. Goal of treatment in spinal column metastases is to optimize the patient’s quality of life by providing effective pain relief and preserving or restoring neurological functions. Treatment strategy for primary tumors should be planned after both oncological and surgical staging. Because of that, biopsy is a very important step in primary tumors. Surgery in metastatic tumors are mostly palliative, aiming short-term control. Primary benign and malignant lesions mainly cause canal compromise and are treated surgically according to oncological staging and Weinstein-Boriani-Biagini classification.