Small-Cell Lung Cancer Cavities: Primary or Secondary?

Cureus. 2021 Mar 4;13(3):e13691. doi: 10.7759/cureus.13691.


Although non-small-cell lung cancer occasionally presents as cavitary lesions, it is rare for small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) to present or progress in such a manner. If a cavitary lesion is seen in the setting of small-cell lung carcinoma, infectious etiologies must be excluded first. We present the case of a 43-year-old man with refractory SCLC that progressed despite two lines of therapy, and who was ultimately found to have recurrent adenopathy and numerous widespread cavitary lung nodules. Fine-needle aspiration of a hilar lymph node revealed extensively necrotic SCLC, while bronchoalveolar cultures grew Aspergillus fumigatus and Candida albicans. The patient was subsequently treated with voriconazole; however, despite these measures, his overall clinical course deteriorated and the patient ultimately succumbed to his illness. Aspergillosis is a major cause of cavitary lung lesions, especially in immunocompromised patients. Our patient with refractory stage four SCLC was found to have several cavitary lung lesions. Before assuming that cavitary lesions are neoplastic, evaluation for aspergillosis should be conducted, particularly in SCLC patients. Although invasive fungal infections are often missed, it may be prudent to conduct such testing because aspergillosis is a treatable condition and the treatment can improve a patient’s hospitalization and overall clinical course.

PMID:33824833 | PMC:PMC8012258 | DOI:10.7759/cureus.13691

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