A Case of Radiation-Associated Vertebral Compression Fracture Mimicking Solitary Bone Metastasis of Lung Cancer

Shoko Ikuta, Nao Shoshihara, Seigo Minami, Hironao Yasuoka, Keiko Takahara, Yoshiaki Okamoto


Radiation therapy plays an important role in the treatment of lung cancer. Although adverse effects of radiation are well known, they are sometimes difficult to be diagnosed. We report a case of a radiation-associated vertebral compression fracture which mimicked bone metastasis of lung cancer. The patient was a 57-year-old man diagnosed with lung squamous cell carcinoma (cT1aN2M0, c-stage IIIA). He received concurrent chemoradiotherapy (CRT) in combination with 6 weeks of weekly carboplatin plus paclitaxel and thoracic radiation of 60 Gy/30 fractions, followed by bi-weekly durvalumab for 12 months. On the last day of the 12-month durvalumab regimen, he complained of backache. Magnetic resonance imaging showed compression fracture of the seventh thoracic vertebra with the spinal cord compressed, and fluorine-18 fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography and computed tomography demonstrated weak focal uptake only at the seventh thoracic vertebra. Although the fracture had been suspected to be bone metastasis, surgical biopsy revealed no evidence of malignancy. Since the seventh thoracic vertebra was included in the irradiation area, the patient was diagnosed with a radiation-associated fracture. Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry of the lumbar vertebrae (L2 - 4) after the surgery revealed osteopenia. In conclusion, we successfully diagnosed the radiation-associated vertebral fracture caused by radical CRT. The fracture mimicked bone metastasis in preoperative imaging tests. Thus, surgical biopsy was useful for diagnosis.

J Med Cases. 2023;14(8):293-298
doi: https://doi.org/10.14740/jmc4133


Radiation-associated fracture; Vertebral compression fracture; Radiation adverse effects; Locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer; Chemoradiotherapy; Immune-checkpoint inhibitor; Durvalumab consolidation; Bone metastasis

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