The specimen is a slice of vertebral column, running vertically and showing the lower thoracic and
the lumber vertebrae. This shows almost complete destruction of the second lumbar vertebra,
which is collapsed; the lower thoracic and the first lumbar vertebrae are extensively involved by
tumour, as is the third lumbar vertebra.
Six months before admission, this woman had fallen on stairs, and had noted
subsequently increasing stiffness and difficulty in walking. On admission, an X-ray showed the
vertebral damage and, at autopsy, a carcinoma of the kidney was demonstrated; this had
metastasised to bones and the liver.