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Primary tumors of the spine: a review of clinical features in 438 patients.

Primary spinal tumors are rare. Current knowledge on this subject is therefore limited due to the lack of study with large cohort. This study is prompted to share our data on clinical profiles of primary spinal tumors collected from a large series of patients. Clinical manifestations of 438 consecutive patients were summarized retrospectively with statistical analysis. In the spine, benign tumor is more common than malignant. The most prevalent tumor is giant cell tumor. Tumors predominately occur between the age of 18 and 59 and the risk of malignancy increases significantly after 40. Main symptoms include local pain and neurological symptoms with frequent occurrence of neurological deficits and pathological fracture. Pain is caused by tumor expansion, pathological fracture and nerve entrapment. Occurrence of neurological deficits is significantly related to patent's age and the region of involvement. Giant cell tumor is associated with the highest incidence of neurological fracture with significance. Duration of symptom is 6 months on average. The most affected region is the cervical spine, followed by the thoracic and the lumbar spine. Tumors at the sacrum and coccyx are more likely to be malignant. Malignant tumors have significantly higher incidence of involvement at multiple levels than benign tumors. This study contributes by improving our understanding of this rare clinical entity.

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