Metastatic Adenocarcinoma of the Lung Mimicking Spinal Tuberculosis


  • Zamzuri Z
  • Adham SY
  • Shukrimi A
  • Azril MA
  • Amran R



Clinically, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish an infection of the spine from a metastasis. Spinal tuberculosis is common according to its endemic region and adenocarcinoma of the lung is also rising in the incidence worldwide. Similar presentations, with unknown primary, clinical findings and hematological investigations rarely conclude a true diagnosis. Radiologically, the hallmark of spinal infection is erosion of adjacent vertebral endplates and narrowing of the disc space with or without a paravertebral shadow. Metastasis typically does not involve the disc space with erosion of the adjacent vertebral endplates. It usually presents as a lytic/sclerotic lesion in the vertebral body or “winkle owl” sign. These distinguishing features of infection versus metastasis are not certainties. Biopsy is mandatory whenever in doubt or patient is not responded with provisional treatment. The author presents a case with so-called radiological features of spinal tuberculosis infection, which turns out to be a metastatic adenocarcinoma of the lung.


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How to Cite

Z, Z. ., SY, A. ., A, S., MA, A. ., & R, A. . (2011). Metastatic Adenocarcinoma of the Lung Mimicking Spinal Tuberculosis. IIUM Medical Journal Malaysia, 10(2).

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