Primary malignant pericardial mesothelioma with a survival of 2.5 years: a case report

Translational Cancer Research 2022 May [Link]

Yan Yan, Wenli Lv, Yinghao Luo, Jianlin Hu, Jie Yang


Background: Primary malignant pericardial mesothelioma (PMPM) is a highly malignant tumor originating in the pericardium serosum with clinical manifestations presenting as constrictive pericarditis, with pericardial tamponade and heart failure. Malignant pericardial mesothelioma is rare and has a poor prognosis, with an average survival time of 6-10 months.

Case description: Herein, we report the case of a 57-year-old female who developed chest tightness and panic for no obvious reason. She was diagnosed with tuberculous pericarditis via multiple examinations including positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT), pleural biochemical routine, tuberculin purified protein derivative (PPD) test, T cell spot (T-SPOT) test, and echocardiography, and was experienced intermittent relief after anti-tuberculosis treatment. On 21 July, 2020, pericardiectomy was performed due to poor therapeutic effect, and the postoperative pathological diagnosis was malignant mesothelioma. After discussing treatment plans and considering the prognosis, the patient opted for palliative care. Subsequently, her symptoms gradually worsened, with chest tightness, shortness of breath, palpitations at rest, frequent arrhythmias, heart failure, cardiogenic shock, and multiple plasma chamber effusions. This case showed that the most common misdiagnosis of PMPM is tuberculous pericarditis, which needs to be differentiated from pleural mesothelioma with pericardial metastasis.

Conclusions: The diagnosis of PMPM is usually made by pathologic surgery or histopathological examination to determine the specific disease location. In addition, pericardiocentesis fluid exfoliation cytology, imaging and echocardiography can assist diagnosis. Due to the lack of effective treatment for PMPM, timely surgery and postoperative adjuvant chemotherapy are needed to improve the quality of life of patients and prolong their survival time.