PURPOSE: MR findings of the spinal metastasis and the tuberculosis are well known, but sometimes it might be difficult to differentiate these lesions. Therefore we reviewed and analyzed the MR findings which would be useful for the differentiation. MATERIALS AND METHODS: T1- and T2-weighted spin echo images and gadolinium-enhanced Tl-weighted images were obtained with 1. 5T and 1. 0T superconductive MR imager. We reviewed MR findings in 16 cases of spinal metastases and 24 cases of spinal tuberculosis in terms of signal intensity, contrast enhancement pattern, disc space involvement, spinal canal compressing feature and paraspinal soft tissue mass. RESULTS: The signal intensities of both lesions were hypointense on T1WI and hyperintense on T2WI except those of the metastatic lesions from the prostatic carcinoma. Heterogeneous enhancement was noted in 63% of metastasis, whereas peripheral rim enhancement was noted in 83% of spinal tuberculosis(p (.001). Spinal canal compression by collapsed vertebra was only noted in spinal metastasis, and that by paraspinal soft tissue was noted in both spinal metastasis and tuberculosis(p (.001). Disc space invasion was noted in 19% of spinal metastasis and 88% of spinal tuberculosis. Spinal tuberculosis was common at lower thoracic spine(T10) and typically involved two or more adjacent vertebral bodies(96%). CONCLUSION: The important differential point between spinal metastasis and tuberculosis was the enhancement pattern, involvement of two or more contiguous vertebral bodies and the feature of spinal canal compressing. The secondary importance was the disc space involvement pattern.