Brazilian Journal of Pulmonology

ISSN (on-line): 1806-3756 | ISSN (printed): 1806-3713


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Current Issue: 2017 - Volume 43 - Number 1 (January/February)


Primary epithelioid angiosarcoma of the chest wall complicating calcified fibrothorax and mimicking empyema necessitatis

Angiossarcoma epitelioide primário da parede torácica complicando um fibrotórax calcificado e simulando empiema necessitatis


Luis Gorospe1; Ana Patricia Ovejero-Díaz2; Amparo Benito-Berlinches3


1. Departamento de Radiología, Hospital Universitario Ramón y Cajal, Madrid, España.
2. Departamento de Cirugía Torácica, Hospital Universitario Ramón y Cajal, Madrid, España.
3. Departamento de Patología, Hospital Universitario Ramón y Cajal, Madrid, España.




We describe the case of a 72-year-old male patient with primary epithelioid angiosarcoma of the chest wall (PEACW). The patient complained of a painful lump in his chest. His medical history was consistent with calcified fibrothorax secondary to a tuberculous infection during childhood. Empyema necessitatis (EN) was initially suspected. An X-ray of the chest (Figure 1A) showed characteristics similar to those seen on previous X-rays. A CT scan demon-strated a heterogeneous mass that focally destroyed a rib and invaded chest wall muscles (Figure 1B). A CT-guided biopsy of the mass (Figure 1C) revealed a high-grade PEACW. Unfortunately, the patient died from brain and pulmo-nary metastases three weeks later.

The development of a chest wall lump in a patient with chronic calcified fibrothorax of tuberculous origin should prompt the possibility of EN. However, only a few cases of PEACW developing in patients with a chronic calcified fibrothorax have been published in the literature.(1-3) To our knowledge, there have been no reported cases in which PEACW complicating calcified fibrothorax was accurately diagnosed on the basis of percutaneous biopsy. Despite its rarity, PEACW should be suspected in patients with chronic calcified fibrothorax that develops as a chest wall mass.


1. Hattori H. Epithelioid angiosarcoma arising in the tuberculous pyothorax: report of an autopsy case. Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2001;125(11):1477-9.
2. Maziak DE, Shamji FM, Peterson R, Perkins DG. Angiosarcoma of the chest wall. Ann Thorac Surg. 1999;67(3):839-41.
3. Aozasa K, Naka N, Tomita Y, Ohsawa M, Kanno H, Uchida A, et al. Angiosarcoma de-veloping from chronic pyothorax. Mod Pathol. 1994;7(9):906-11.



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