2017, Number 1
Rev Invest Clin 2017; 69 (1)
Unsuspected Lung Pathology in Autopsies of Children with Cancer
Furuya MEY, Rodríguez-Velasco A, Rodríguez-Zepeda MC, López-Aguilar E, Vargas MH, Sciandra-Rico M, Cárdenas-Navarrete R, Madrigal-Muñiz O, Feria-Kaiser C, Delgado-González EE, Villasís-Keever MÁ
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Although pulmonary involvement is common in patients with cancer, its frequency and nature is seldom reported
in the medical literature. Objective:
To determine the frequency and type of lung pathological conditions revealed by autopsy in
children with cancer. Methods: All reports from autopsies performed in children with cancer from 1989 to 2012 in a pediatric
hospital were reviewed. Results:
In the analyzed period, 118 autopsies (10.2% of all autopsies) corresponded to children who
died with cancer; 76 had complete information and were included in the analysis. Children were seen in the Hematology (41 cases)
or the Oncology (35 cases) services. Their median age at decease was 7 years (range, 15 days to 16.1 years) and 46.1% were
females. Main diagnoses were acute lymphoblastic (31 patients) or myeloblastic (10 patients) leukemias and tumors of the
central nervous system (12 patients). A pathological respiratory condition was diagnosed antemortem in 31 (40.8%) patients,
and at autopsy in 62 (81.6%) cases. Omitted diagnoses occurred in 58 (76.3%) children, being pneumonia (24 cases) and
pulmonary hemorrhage (23 cases) the most frequent omissions. Nine patients had clinically unsuspected tumor infiltration or
In these children with cancer, more than 80% of autopsies revealed some lung pathology, mainly of
infectious or hemorrhagic nature. Thus, pulmonary involvement should be investigated in all children with cancer in a timely and intentional
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