The records of eight hundred two patients who received primary radiotherapy for invasive cervical cancer between 1969 and 1985 were reviewed. The incidence of bone metastasis was 1.9% (15/802). Lumbar spine involvement was the most common site, followed by the pelvic bones. Lumbar spine involvement was characterized by unilateral destruction of one or several contiguous vertebrae. All 10 patients with lumbar spine involvement were associated with a para-spinal mass. In seven of ten patients, this bone destruction due to direct extension from metastatic pare-aortic tumor was the only recurrent cancer. In contrast, involvement of a long bone, a rib or the skull indicates hematogenous bone metastasis. When a spine X ray or bone scan is positive in the lumbar area in a cervical cancer patient with back pain, a CT scan should be performed to determine the extent of the underlying tumor. This will allow more accurate establishment of a radiation treatment plan, and will improve the chances for successful palliation. © 1987.