Alberto Balestrino, Stefano Boriani, Riccardo Cecchinato, Antonina Parafioriti, Marco Gambarotti, Alessandro Gasbarrini

December 2020, Volume 29, Issue 12, pp 3157 - 3162 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-020-06555-9

First Online: 04 August 2020


Percutaneous vertebroplasty (VTP) is a well-known surgical technique used for pain management and vertebral consolidation in the treatment of osteolytic metastases of the spine.

While this indication is proven and commonly accepted, an antitumoral effect of polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) has been proposed but not yet demonstrated.

The aim of our study is to evaluate the evidences of antitumoral effect on anatomopathological examination. We present a small series of pathology findings after VTP for spine metastases that support the lack of antitumoral effect of PMMA.


We have retrospectively analyzed three cases of patients treated for en bloc excision of recurrent spine metastases previously submitted elsewhere to VTP on the same levels.

We discuss our results with the literature reporting of an antitumoral effect of VTP.


In our series, after anatomopathological examination, a cement-induced tumor necrosis was never found. Conversely, a foreign-body reaction around the cement was found, inside vital tumor. These results are consistent with an immune reaction to a foreign body without evidences of an antitumoral effect of PMMA.


The antitumoral effect of PMMA should not be taken into account as an indication for VTP in spinal metastases. It is important not to misuse VTP as a therapy aiming at tumor control. Other therapies such as radiotherapy, radiosurgery and open surgery are available for that purpose.

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