Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology 2014 Feb 28 [Epub ahead of print] [Link]

Lorkowski J, Grzegorowska O, Kotela A, Weryński W, Kotela I.


The prevalence of malignant pleural mesothelioma is often encountered in the areas highly exposed to asbestos. The aim of this paper was a retrospective analysis of shoulder pain as a rare, first symptom of pleural mesothelioma, which constitutes an interdisciplinary diagnostic problem concerning both orthopedics and pulmonology. The research was based on a retrospective review of the patients’ medical records. The considered period of time included the years 2006-2012. The study group included a total of 49 patients. Seven patients (14.3 %) presented a complain of shoulder pain, as the first symptom of mesothelioma. The remaining 42 mesothelioma patients, without this symptom, constituted a reference group. The intensity of shoulder pain was, on average, 4/10 on an analog scale. A concomitant limitation of mobility was observed in five out of the seven subjects. In one case, limitation of motion and dysfunction of the shoulder joint were at an advanced stage. Neuralgia of upper limbs was found in two cases. We conclude that shoulder pain may be a manifesting symptom of malignant pleural mesothelioma. The neoplasm appears to have a pleiotropic effect on human body, reflected in different ways of its primary manifestation which may also include the motor system.