Pleuropulmonary metastasis of glioblastoma multiforme: A case report and review of the literature

H. Erhan Dincer, Mamatha Chivukula, Hendrikus G. Krouwer, Vinod B. Shidham, Grant Sinson, Julie A. Biller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We describe a 63-year-old man with metastatic glioblastoma multiforme who presented with a large pleural effusion and lung mass. Pleuropulmonary metastasis of gliomas is very rare. Of 10 cases described in the English literature, diagnosis was made postmortem in 9 patients and 8 patients had a sarcomatous component on the pathologic evaluation. The only other case of glioblastoma multiforme with a lung mass was diagnosed by percutaneous core needle biopsy. In our case, bronchoscopic transbronchial needle aspiration was the diagnostic procedure and, to our knowledge, this has not been described in the literature. Interpretation of needle aspirates may create a diagnostic dilemma resulting from similarities of appearance of glial tumor cells with poorly differentiated nonsmall cell lung cancer on the smear. Gliomas are known occasionally to metastasize to other organs such as the liver, spleen, and bone, and in most, this occurs after surgical debulking for the primary tumor. Several case studies suggest direct infiltration of tumor cells into the extracranial vessels as the most likely mechanism of metastasis of these locally invasive tumors. Although life expectancy of patients with glioblastoma multiforme has remained poor despite new therapies, early detection and timely treatment of extracranial metastases may prolong survival, quality of life, or prevent incorrect therapy because of misdiagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-245
Number of pages3
JournalClinical Pulmonary Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2006


  • Glioblastoma multiforme
  • Lung mass
  • Pleural effusion
  • Transbronchial needle aspirate

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