Author(s): Nilsson A, Rasmuson T
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Abstract Primary mesothelioma of the pericardium is a rare tumor and carries a dismal prognosis. This case report presents a 38-year-old man who suffered from recurrent pericardial fluid. Initial symptoms were unspecific, with dry cough and progressing fatigue. Pericardiocentesis was performed, but analyses for malignant cells and tuberculosis were negative. After recurrence a pericardiectomy was planned. At operation, partial resection of tumor tissue surrounding the heart was performed. Histopathologic examination including immunohistochemical staining for calretinin showed a biphasic mesothelioma. During the postoperative period the patient's condition ameliorated, but symptoms recurred and the patient died 3 months after diagnosis and 15 months after the first symptoms. At autopsy, the pericardium was transformed by the tumor that also expanded into the mediastinum and had set metastases to the liver. A review of 29 cases presented in the recent literature indicates a higher incidence of malignant pericardial mesothelioma among men than women. Median age was 46 (range, 19-76) years. In pleural mesotheliomas, exposure to asbestos is a known risk factor. However, in primary pericardial mesotheliomas the evidence for asbestos as an etiologic factor seems to be less convincing (3 exposed among 14 cases). Symptoms are often unspecific and cytologic examination of pericardial fluid is seldom conclusive (malignant cells demonstrated in 4/17 cases). Partial resection of the tumor can give a period of symptom reduction. Only a few patients have been treated with chemotherapy. Median survival of patients with pericardial mesotheliomas is approximately 6 months.
This article was published in Case Rep Oncol
and referenced in Journal of Tumor Research