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Metastatic breast carcinoma - Dorsal spine - Gross specimen
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Metastatic breast carcinoma - Dorsal spine - Gross specimen
  • Case ID: 226
  • Diagnosis: Metastatic breast carcinoma
  • Category: Bone Tumors
  • Category Type: Metastatic carcinoma to bone
  • Category Sub Type: Malignant
  • Location: Dorsal spine
  • Age: 45
  • Sex: F
  • Treatment: Observation
  • Image ID: 1952
  • Image Type: Gross specimen
  • Images relating to this case: 1952, 1953 .

This is a comparative analysis of an autopsy specimen taken from a 45-year-old female who died of extensive metastatic carcinoma that shows the excised lumbar spine to the right and radiographic examination of the same specimen to the left. The whitest appearing vertebral bodies are filled with metastatic carcinoma. Of great significance is the fact that the radiographic view of the same specimen does not show any evidence of lytic destruction of the cortical structures of the involved vertebra, thus suggesting that routine radiographs are not a good way to monitor metastatic disease to the spine. An isotope bone scan is a much more accurate and sensitive way to pick up metastatic disease not visible on routine radiograph. This situation is very common with breast cancer, in 80-90 per cent of patients, many of whom are total asymptomatic at the time of their demise.


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