Clinical evidence for overcoming capecitabine resistance in a woman with breast cancer terminating in radiologically occult micronodular pseudo-cirrhosis with portal hypertension: a case reportReportar como inadecuado

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Journal of Medical Case Reports

, 4:112

First Online: 21 April 2010Received: 14 November 2008Accepted: 21 April 2010DOI: 10.1186-1752-1947-4-112

Cite this article as: Fournier, C., Tisman, G., Kleinman, R. et al. J Med Case Reports 2010 4: 112. doi:10.1186-1752-1947-4-112


IntroductionWe report a case of stage IV breast cancer terminating in an unusual picture of radiologically occult micronodular pseudo-cirrhosis. Contrast-enhanced computed tomography showed no evidence of metastatic breast cancer within the liver. Unlike the few previously reported cases of intrasinusoidal spread of breast cancer, our patient was palliated with a transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt along with salvage chemohormonal therapy. In addition, our patient demonstrated proof of the principle of the dependence of capecitabine Xeloda efficacy on dose scheduling as predicted by laboratory studies based on Gompertzian tumor growth and the Norton-Simon hypothesis.

Case presentationWe report the case of a 52-year-old Caucasian woman who developed radiological signs of portal hypertension without radiological evidence of hepatic metastasis five years after being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. She was receiving chemotherapy for stage IV breast cancer initially thought to be metastatic only to the bones. During salvage therapy with high-dose estradiol Estradiol valerate, vinorelbine Navelbine and bevacizumab Avastin, she suddenly developed signs of portal hypertension confirmed on computed tomography and by portal and systemic venous pressure measurements. Drug toxicity due to bevacizumab Avastin was initially and incorrectly entertained as a cause. The patient underwent palliative transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt and transhepatic venous liver biopsy, which revealed the presence of rapidly progressive and uncontrolled metastatic breast cancer. The new discovery of radiologically occult intrasinusodal hepatic metastases with secondary micronodular cirrhosis was found to be the cause of her sudden onset portal hypertension. The patient-s resistance to capecitabine Xeloda was reversed by changing the schedule of medication to biweekly 7-7 7 days ingesting drug alternating with 7 days off drug from the 14-7 14 days ingesting drug alternating with a 7 day rest period day schedule approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

ConclusionThis case report demonstrates an unusual presentation of radiographically occult hepatic metastasis from breast cancer palliated with transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt. All patients with advanced breast cancer developing unexpected portal hypertension should be considered candidates for liver biopsy despite normal computed tomography of the liver imaging results. This is the first report of a reversal of clinical resistance to capecitabine Xeloda by changing from the schedule of 14-7 day to a biweekly 7-7 day schedule. This suggests that a biweekly schedule may be best for some patients.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1752-1947-4-112 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Christa Fournier - Glenn Tisman - Robert Kleinman - Yong Park - William D MacDonald


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