Background: The axial skeleton is a common site for primary tumors and metastatic disease, with metastatic disease being much more common. Primary and metastatic spinal tumors have a diverse range of aggressiveness, ranging from benign lesions to highly infiltrative malignant tumors. Methods: The authors reviewed the results of articles describing the treatment and outcomes of patients with metastatic disease or primary tumors of the spinal column. Results: En bloc resection is the mainstay of treatment for malignant primary tumors of the spinal column. Intralesional resection is generally appropriate for benign primary tumors. Low-quality evidence supports the use of chemotherapy in select primary tumors; however, radiation therapy is often used for incompletely resected or unresectable lesions. Surgical considerations for the treatment of metastatic disease are more nuanced and require that the health care professional consider patient performance status and the pathology of the primary tumor. Conclusions: The treatment of metastatic and primary tumors of the spinal column requires a multidisciplinary approach in order to offer patients the best opportunity for long-term survival.
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