Metastatic hepatocellular carcinoma presenting as a sphenoid sinus mass and meningeal carcinomatosis

June 8, 2014
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Abstract

We report the case of a 30-year-old woman who was referred to us for evaluation of a 2-week history of fever, headache, vomiting, bilateral ptosis, and blurred vision. Imaging obtained by the referring institution had identified a sphenoid sinus mass and diffuse meningeal infiltration, which was thought to represent an infective process. We subsequently identified the mass as a metastatic hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The patient was placed under palliative care, and she died 1 month later. Metastases to the sphenoid sinus from any primary source are very rare, and they are generally not considered in the radiologic differential diagnosis. HCC is known to metastasize to the lung, lymph nodes, and musculoskeletal system; again, reported cases of metastasis to the sphenoid sinus are rare. Indeed, our review of the English-language literature found only 6 previously reported cases of sinonasal metastasis of a primary HCC. A diagnosis of a sinonasal metastasis is more difficult in a patient who has no previous diagnosis of a primary malignancy. In presenting this case, our aim is to remind readers of this possibility.

Introduction

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the seventh most common cancer in the world, with 782,000 new cases diagnosed in 2012.1 HCC commonly metastasizes to the lungs (34 to 70% of cases), regional lymph nodes (16 to 41%), and musculoskeletal system (1.6 to 16%).2,3 Sinonasal metastasis from a primary HCC is very rare, as our review of the English-language literature found only 6 previously reported cases.4-6

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