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Paraganglioma arising from the liver and abutting the heart


A paraganglioma is a rare extra-adrenal neuroendocrine tumour with a variable clinical presentation. A paraganglioma can arise anywhere along the sympathetic and parasympathetic chains, but it can occasionally emerge from unusual locations such as the liver and the thoracic cavity. We report a rare case of a woman in her 30s who presented to our emergency department with symptoms of chest discomfort, episodic hypertension, tachycardia and diaphoresis. A diagnostic approach including a chest X-ray, an MRI and a positron emission tomography–CT scan showed a large exophytic liver mass protruding into the thoracic cavity. For further characterisation of the mass, a biopsy of the lesion was performed, demonstrating that the tumour is of neuroendocrine origin. This was supported by a urine metanephrine test showing high levels of catecholamine breakdown products. Treatment consisted of a unique multidisciplinary approach involving hepatobiliary and cardiothoracic surgery allowing a safe and complete extermination of the hepatic tumour and its cardiac extension.

  • Surgery
  • Cancer intervention
  • Liver disease
  • Hepatic cancer
  • Endocrine cancer

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