Hideki Murakami, Satoshi Kato, Yasuhiro Ueda, Yoshiyasu Fujimaki, Hiroyuki Tsuchiya

May 2014, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 222 - 227 Case Report Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-013-3056-2

First Online: 05 October 2013


Distant metastases from thyroid carcinoma are successfully cured if they take up radioiodine (131I), are of small size, and located in the lungs. Bone metastases have the worst prognosis because 131I therapy and external beam radiotherapy are less effective. Our propose here is to report a patient with solitary spinal metastasis and multiple lung metastases from thyroid carcinoma, whose spinal metastasis was treated by total en bloc spondylectomy (TES) enhancing antitumor immunity using frozen tumor-bearing bone for spinal reconstruction.


The patient was a 37-year-old male who had solitary spinal metastasis at T4 and multiple lung metastases from thyroid carcinoma. 131I therapy for the multiple lung metastases resulted in no effect because the apparent 131I uptake was observed only in T4 metastasis. We performed a TES of T4 with cryotreatment. After en bloc excision of T4, the excised tumor-bearing vertebra was frozen by liquid nitrogen. In spinal reconstruction, the frozen vertebra was used in a mesh cage inserted into the anterior defect.


After surgery, the thyroglobulin level decreased without any other adjuvant therapy and the serum levels of INF-γ and IL-12 increased. This indicates antitumor immunity was activated. Then, 131I therapy became effective to the lung metastases causing the tumors to decrease in size and number. Three years after surgery, progression in the lung metastases, other metastasis, and local recurrence have not been observed.


TES with cryotreatment as presented is a novel surgery which can enhance antitumor immunity against other visible or non-visible metastases.

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