Occult esophageal squamous cell carcinoma with metastases to the spine and central nervous system
Keywords:Carcinoma, Squamous Cells, Esophageal Neoplasms, Neoplasm Metastasis, Spine, Brain
Esophageal malignancy encompasses a group of diseases that are mostly represented by the squamous cell carcinoma and the adenocarcinoma. Quite frequently, these neoplasms present aggressive behavior; therefore, the diagnosis is often made when the condition is in advanced stages. Dysphagia is the typical clinical complaint, although it is present only when most of the lumen is obstructed. Therefore, quite often, the metastatic disease is first diagnosed, which contributes to the patient’s poor survival expectancy. The authors report the case of a 58-year-old man who looked for medical care complaining of a long-term history of scapular pain. The diagnostic work-up disclosed a cervical spine lytic lesion surrounded by a tumoral mass shown by computed tomography. The cervical tumor was sampled by fine needle aspiration, revealing an undifferentiated carcinoma. The outcome was unfavorable and the patient died. The autopsy findings revealed metastatic disease to the spine and central nervous system, and the primary tumor was found to be an esophageal squamous cell carcinoma, which had progressed without typical dysphagia.
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