Phantom simulation of liver metastasis on a positron emission tomography with computed tomography scan after neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy for distal esophageal cancer: a case report

Sen-Ei Shai, Yuan-Hong Lin, Yi-Ling Lai, Hsiao-Wen Tang, Yao-Wen Hsieh, Shih-Chieh Hung
2020 Journal of Medical Case Reports  
Neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy is currently the gold standard treatment for esophageal cancer prior to surgery. This radiation therapy will sometimes lead to liver damage parallel to esophageal lesions, which mimics liver metastasis visualized by 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography with computed tomography. In this report, we publish virtual radiation-induced liver damage images obtained during surgery, along with the coherent pathology, in order to confirm the false-positive
more » ... false-positive result through an optimally decisive radiological examination. We report a case of a Asian male patient with distal esophageal cancer who had undergone neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy (5000 cGy). Subsequently, a new lesion was discovered during a positron emission tomography with computed tomography scan 6 weeks later, near the left caudate lobe of the liver during tumor restaging. To exclude the possibility of liver metastasis, serial imaging was conducted, which included liver sonography, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging for a more intimate probe. The patient's condition was verified as being liver inflammation change, as seen by the liver magnetic resonance imaging presentation. Thoracoscopic esophagectomy was performed with cervical esophagogastrostomy via the retrosternal route, along with a feeding jejunostomy. The procedure was performed smoothly, with an intraoperative liver biopsy also being conducted 2 weeks later, after positron emission tomography with computed tomography restaging. The pathology report revealed esophageal cancer in the form of poorly differentiated squamous cell carcinoma, pT3N1M0. The liver biopsy revealed obvious inflammation change after radiation therapy, which elucidated sinusoidal congestion with the attenuated hepatic cords and filled with erythrocytes. There was no evidence of liver metastasis. The patient recovered uneventfully and was discharged with his oral intake performing smoothly, and a stable condition was observed during 12 months of outpatient department follow-up. New foci of increased 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose avidity are commonly seen in the caudate and left hepatic lobes of the liver during neoadjuvant chemoradiation for distal esophageal cancer, and these findings generally reflect radiation-induced liver disease rather than metastatic disease. Awareness of the pitfalls of a high 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose uptake in radiation-induced liver injury is crucial in order to avoid misinterpretation and overstaging. Except for the location of 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose uptake, the shape of the lesion, and an maximum standardized uptake value (> 10/h), a convincing liver magnetic resonance imaging scan or even a liver biopsy can provide accurate information for distinguishing radiotherapy-induced liver injury from liver metastasis.
doi:10.1186/s13256-020-02391-z pmid:32631396 fatcat:l3m6nr2ttrfblpnawrgjpuhb44