Metastatic Breast Cancer Presenting as Acute Liver Failure

Metastatic Breast Cancer Presenting as Acute Liver Failure

Author Info

Corresponding Author
Dina Halegoua-DeMarzio
Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA


Acute liver failure (ALF) is a rare clinical syndrome, with up to 20% of cases having no known etiology. Of the many causes, initial presentation of metastatic carcinoma is rare, with malignant infiltration of the liver usually diagnosed postmortem. We present a case of fulminant liver failure caused by a new diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer. A 55-year-old female with no significant medical history presented with fatigue and jaundice for one month and one week of pruritus and lower extremity edema. On presentation, she had a MELD-Na of 38 with confusion, therefore prompting rapid liver transplant evaluation. An abdominal ultrasound revealed cirrhotic morphology of the liver, ascites, and marked hepatic echogenicity. An abdominal MRI needed for listing revealed an enlarged liver that was replaced by innumerable ringenhancing lesions concerning for metastasis. A liver biopsy was performed and revealed metastatic carcinoma consistent with breast primary with no underlying cirrhosis. Transplant workup was terminated, and the patient was referred to Oncology and Palliative Care for further management. We report a clinical lesson regarding the importance of confirming prior liver disease prior to transplant listing. Rare presentations such as this argue towards liver biopsy prior to listing ALF patients of unknown etiology.

Article Info

Article Type
Case Report
Publication history
Received: Fri 24, Jul 2020
Accepted: Fri 21, Aug 2020
Published: Tue 08, Sep 2020
© 2021 Dina Halegoua-DeMarzio. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Hosting by Science Repository. All rights reserved.
DOI: 10.31487/j.TCR.2020.02.04