The skeleton is the most common site to be affected by metastatic cancer. The place of surgical treatment and of different techniques of reconstruction has not been clearly defined.
We have studied the rate of survival of 94 patients and the results of the surgical treatment of 91 metastases of the limbs and pelvis, and 18 of the spine. Variables included the different primary tumours, the metastatic load at the time of operation, the surgical margin, and the different techniques of reconstruction.
The survival rate was 0.54 at one year and 0.27 at three years. Absence of visceral metastases and of a pathological fracture, a time interval of more than three years between the diagnosis of cancer and that of the first skeletal metastasis, thyroid carcinoma, prostate carcinoma, renal-cell carcinoma, breast cancer, and plasmacytoma were positive variables with regard to survival. The metastatic load of the skeleton and the surgical margin were not of significant influence. In tumours of the limbs and pelvis, the local failure rate was 0% after biological reconstruction (10), 3.6% after cemented or uncemented osteosynthesis (28) and 1.8% after prosthetic replacement (53). The local failure rate after stabilisation of the spine (18) was 16.6%. There was local recurrence in seven patients (6.4%), and in four of these the primary tumour was a renal-cell carcinoma. The local recurrence rate was 0% after extralesional (24) and 8.2% after intralesional resection (85).
Improvements in the oncological management of patients with primary and metastatic disease have resulted in an increased survival rate. In order to avoid additional surgery, it is essential to consider the expected time of survival of the reconstruction and, in bony metastases with a potentially poor response to radiotherapy, the surgical margin.
- Received June 5, 2001.
- Accepted August 21, 2001.
- © 2002 British Editorial Society of Bone and Joint Surgery