A case of gastric small cell carcinoma with metastases to bone and liver

Geethapriya Rajasekaran Rathnakumar, Ashish Gupta, Febin John, Yingxian Liu, Shams Shakil, Elizabeth Guevara


Gastric small cell carcinoma (GSCC) is a rare entity in the western hemisphere. GSCC’s typically arise in the upper one-third of the stomach and have histologic features similar to those of small-cell lung carcinoma (SCLC). They have an aggressive natural history that is characterized by early and widespread metastases. Prognosis is dismal with an overall survival of less than 12 months. We present the case of a 79-year-old African-American woman who presented with two weeks of progressive dysphagia associated with nausea, vomiting and a foreign body sensation in the throat. Computed tomography (CT) imaging showed multiple hepatic and lymph node lesions but revealed no gastric thickening. Endoscopy revealed a large ulcer on the lesser curvature of the stomach. Biopsy proved the diagnosis of pure-type GSCC. Bone scan identified multiple focal bony lesions at the thoracolumbar vertebrae, ribcage, bilateral scapulae, pelvic bones and right proximal femur. Treatment was started with cisplatin and etoposide. To our knowledge, this is the one of the first reported cases of gastric small cell cancer with bone metastases in the western hemisphere. Our report shows the importance of doing a full metastatic workup in these patients to identify sites of metastases.