A rare case of primary gastric Burkitt’s lymphoma associated with malignant pleural mesothelioma

Annali Italiani di Chirurgia 2023 March 6 [Link]

Erasmo Spaziani, Annalisa Romina Di Filippo, Giampaolo Valle, Martina Spaziani, Piero Francioni, Gianluca Caruso, Giovanni Traumueller Tamagnini, Edoardo Mosciatti, Marcello Picchio, Alessandro De Cesare


Background: Primary gastric Burkitt lymphoma (PG BL) and malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) are rare and aggressive tumors with poor prognosis. HIV and EBV infection have a link in the aetiology of PG BL, while MPM is usually associated with asbestos exposure. Endoluminal bleeding from massive solid tumor, and dyspnea usually due to pleural effusion, are the typical clinical manifestations respectively of PG BL and MPM. In most patients just palliative treatment is indicated.

Case report: A caucasian elderly male, negative for the proven risk factors, presenting respiratory failure due to massive left pleural effusion with severe mediastinal shift. Contrast enhanced – Computed Tomography (CE-CT) showed a large mass causing circumferential thickening of the gastric fundus, infiltrating the left diaphragmatic dome and the ipsilateral crus. Macroscopically, on endoscopy the gastric fundus appeared completely occupied by an ulcerated large mass protunding in the gastric lumen. Histopathological examination from biopsy specimens taken during esophagogastroduodenoscopy and thoracoscopy allowed to make diagnosis of PG BL and MPM. The patient first underwent a placement of a chest tube drainage for the pleural effusion and then a thoracoscopic talc insufflation (TTI) in the left hemithorax. A surgical treatment of the gastric lesion was planned, due to the rapid growth and the high risk of bleeding. The patient died because of fatal cardiac arrhythmia, before undergoig abdominal surgery.

Conclusions: This report presents an unique case of PG BL associated with MPM and highlights the real challenge for the physicians to identify them in early stage, especially in patients without the proved risk factors. The onset symptoms make it a very singular case, characterized by severe dyspnea up to respiratory failure, due to massive left pleural effusion and contralateral mediastinal fluttering, without an active bleeding from the gastric mass, while CE-CT findings were instead negative for pleural thickening and positive for circumferential thickening of the gastric fundus.