Skull metastasis from hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is reported rarely. In addition, solitary skull metastasis as the first symptom of HCC is reported even less. Here, we reported a case of solitary skull metastasis as the first symptom of HCC and reviewed the literature on skull metastasis. A 49-year-old male patient was admitted to Jinjiang Hospital of Quanzhou Medical College with a painless parietal-occipital scalp mass, and he denied any history of hepatic disease. A cranial computed tomography demonstrated a hypervascular enhancement with osteolytic change in the right parietal-occipital region, cranial magnetic resonance imaging indicated a highly enhanced and osteolytic skull tumor, and abdominal computed tomography showed a huge tumor in the liver. The other examinations showed no other metastases. Laboratory data showed no liver dysfunction while hepatitis B surface antigen was positive, and alpha fetal protein level was high. A craniectomy was performed and the mass was totally removed. The histological diagnosis was skull metastasis from HCC. The patient was subsequently treated by transcatheter arterial chemoembolization. In a review of published literature, the incidence of skull metastasis from HCC in the period between 1990 and 2011 has significantly increased. The misdiagnosis rate of skull metastases as the first symptom from HCC was high. Therefore, it is necessary to give each patient with a scalp mass that has invaded the skull a liver ultrasound or computed tomography scan. On the other hand, we found that metastases that occurred in the calvaria site were more frequent than those that occurred in the skull base and facial skeleton. This may be worthy of further investigation in the future.
Keywords: bone metastasis; hepatocellular carcinoma; positron emission tomography; skull metastasis.