Pulmonary lymphangitic carcinomatosis as a primary manifestation of gastric carcinoma in a young adult: a case report and review of the literature

BMC Res Notes. 2012 Nov 16;5:638. doi: 10.1186/1756-0500-5-638.


Background: Lymphangitic carcinomatosis as a manifestation of gastric carcinoma is rare. The presenting symptoms are misleading and nonspecific, often resulting in delayed diagnosis.

Case presentation: We present a case of a 24 year old male with progressive dyspnea. Initial radiologic assessment suggested interstitial lung disease, which was subsequently treated with antibiotics and corticosteroids. However, endoscopy and whole body diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging revealed a metastatic gastric cancer with the presence of lymphangitic carcinomatosis.

Conclusions: Pulmonary lymphangitic carcinomatosis is a rare manifestation of metastatic gastric cancer. Patients present with severe but non-specific respiratory complaints. Definitive diagnosis can be achieved by transbronchial biopsy. Prognosis is poor and optimal treatment is not defined. Whole body diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging is a promising imaging tool for the diagnosis of metastatic gastric cancer.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma / diagnosis*
  • Carcinoma / secondary
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Lung Neoplasms / secondary
  • Lymphangitis / diagnosis*
  • Lymphangitis / etiology
  • Male
  • Stomach Neoplasms / complications
  • Stomach Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / pathology
  • Young Adult