An expansile mandibular mass as the initial manifestation of hepatocellular carcinoma

February 1, 2011
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Abstract

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most frequently encountered malignancies. Distant metastasis is a common sequela, occurring in approximately 50% of cases. Metastasis to the oral cavity is very rare. Careful immunohistochemical evaluation is critical in differentiating HCC from other metastatic malignancies. An understanding of the possibility that HCC may initially present as a mandibular metastasis is crucial to guide management. We describe the case of a 76-year-old man with a 3- to 4-month history of a painless, slowly enlarging, left-sided jaw mass. Biopsy findings were consistent with HCC. While the patient was a known hepatitis C carrier, the presence of HCC had been previously unknown. Additional workup revealed a large hepatic lesion. In view of his poor health, the patient elected to forgo chemotherapy, and he entered a hospice facility. This case provides an illustration that an isolated mandibular mass may represent the initial presentation of HCC. Subsequent identification of the primary tumor via radiographic and pathologic evaluations is important for the guidance of further management.

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