Extensive intrathoracic and intraperitoneal splenosis mimicking mesothelioma - a case report

Bandik Föh, Malte Maria Sieren, Marcus Both, Marcus Seeger, Rainer Günther


BACKGROUND: Splenosis is the heterotopic autotransplantation of splenic tissue after severe splenic trauma and/or splenectomy. The epidemiology is elusive, but splenosis is frequently misdiagnosed as malignant tumors of gastrointestinal, gynecological, or hematological origin before the correct diagnosis is ultimately found. We herein report a rare case of combined, extensive intraabdominal and intrathoracic splenosis initially presenting as pleural mesothelioma.

CASE PRESENTATION: A 63-year-old Caucasian male presented with dyspnea and recurring thoracic pain. Initial X-ray and computed tomography scans showed disseminated intrathoracic and intraabdominal lesions. Consequently, thoracoabdominal mesothelioma or a polytopically metastasized cancer of unknown origin was suspected. A thorough examination of the patient's medical history and contrast-enhanced ultrasound by a skilled examiner revealed the diagnosis of extensive abdominal and thoracic splenosis as a consequence of an abdominal gunshot wound with a ruptured diaphragm several decades earlier. Timely diagnosis by noninvasive measures prevented the patient from potential complications of harmful diagnostic procedures, including nuclear imaging and biopsies. The patient is currently treated for hepatitis C and chronic obstructive lung disease, whereas no specific treatment for splenosis is required.

CONCLUSIONS: We present a case of rare intrathoracic and intraperitoneal splenosis mimicking mesothelioma. Contrast-enhanced ultrasound and thorough patient history were used for diagnosis and prevented this patient from having to undergo potentially harmful diagnostics. Splenosis can occur after splenic trauma and, consequently, needs to be considered as a rare differential diagnosis to malignant tumors of various origins when a matching patient history is obtained.

ZeitschriftJournal of Medical Case Reports
Seiten (von - bis)73
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 12.2022


  • 205-30 Radiologie, Nuklearmedizin, Strahlentherapie, Strahlenbiologie
  • 205-15 Gastroenterologie
  • 205-14 Hämatologie, Onkologie


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