Signet Ring Cell Carcinoma with Lymphangitic Carcinomatosis in Pregnancy: A Case Report of an Unexpected Maternal Death and Review of the Literature

Am J Case Rep. 2019 Dec 17:20:1888-1891. doi: 10.12659/AJCR.919412.


BACKGROUND Cancer in pregnancy is extremely rare, and gastric cancers are rarer still. Diagnosis is difficult in pregnancy due to overlapping symptoms with pregnancy such as nausea, pain, anemia, and fatigue. CASE REPORT A 26-year-old G1 woman at 32 weeks gestation with a past medical history of systemic lupus erythematosus presented with new-onset chest pain and shortness of breath. Computed tomography of the chest, electrocardiogram, and echocardiogram were normal. Laboratory evaluation revealed thrombocytopenia, proteinuria of 480 milligrams, and normal complement. She delivered on hospital day 3 due to worsening chest pain. During cesarean delivery, the patient became hypotensive and hypoxic and required intensive care unit admission after a cesarean hysterectomy. On postoperative day 2 she had a pulmonary embolus and was started on therapeutic anticoagulation. She clinically improved until postoperative day 4, when she was found unresponsive with pulseless electrical activity. After 38 minutes of Advanced Cardiac Life Support, death was pronounced. An autopsy was performed and the cause of death found to be complications of multi-organ system involvement of adenocarcinoma with signet ring cell features. Lymphangitic carcinomatosis was noted throughout the lungs. CONCLUSIONS This patient had adenocarcinoma with signet ring cell features and associated lymphangitic carcinomatosis, which led to her postpartum death. Lymphangitic carcinomatosis is associated with an exceedingly poor prognosis, especially in pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / complications*
  • Adult
  • Carcinoma, Signet Ring Cell / complications*
  • Chest Pain
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Dyspnea
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / complications*
  • Lung Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Lymphatic Metastasis*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Neoplastic*