Choriocarcinoma Presenting as a Pleural Effusion
lung mass, choriocarcinoma, germ cell tumor, mediastinal tumor, pleural effusion
Oncology | Pulmonology | Radiology
Choriocarcinoma is a germ cell tumor characterized by widespread metastases and poorly differentiated cells. Non-gestational choriocarcinoma, or primary choriocarcinoma is a trophoblastic disease which is associated with a poor patient prognosis and is markedly angioinvasive. Primary non-gestational mediastinal choriocarcinoma is a very rare disease and represents an aggressive malignancy, primarily seen in young males. Those with primary mediastinal choriocarcinoma have symptoms that are non-specific such as cough, dyspnea, hemoptysis, and chest pain.
Here we present the case of a 47-year-old Caucasian female who presented with worsening dyspnea and cough. Laboratory testing revealed elevated alkaline phosphatase, human chorionic gonadotropin, and cancer antigen 125. Chest X-ray was significant for a large right pleural effusion and a computed tomography angiogram of the chest showed a soft tissue mass in the anterior medial right lung base/right middle lobe. Thoracentesis yielded results consistent with malignant cells favoring a germ cell tumor. Biopsy of the mediastinal mass revealed positivity for inhibin and both human chorionic gonadotropin and CD-10 which led to the diagnosis of primary choriocarcinoma.
Primary mediastinal choriocarcinoma is uncommon and often has a non-specific clinical presentation. A high degree of suspicion is needed as this malignancy can be aggressive, necessitating urgent definitive tissue biopsy diagnosis to guide appropriate therapy.
Publisher or Conference
Hamera L, Posch M, Abraham S, et al. Choriocarcinoma Presenting as a Pleural Effusion. Cureus. 2020 August;12(8):e9667. doi:10.7759/cureus.9667