Thoracic radiculopathy as initial symptoms of hepatocellular carcinoma: A case report

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Abstract

Rationale:

Among the patients who complain of neuralgia in the upper extremities, it is very rare to be caused by the first thoracic (T1) spinal nerve dermatome.

Patient concerns:

A 65-year-old presented with neuropathic pain of the left medial antebrachial cutaneous nerve and the medial brachial cutaneous nerve for 2 months.

Diagnoses:

Electrodiagnostic study revealed left thoracic radiculopathy mainly involving the T1 nerve root. Cervical spine magnetic resonance imaging revealed a metastatic tumor of T1 vertebral body compressing the left spinal cord and nerve root. After a systemic diagnostic work-up, he was finally diagnosed with primary hepatocellular carcinoma.

Interventions:

He received transarterial chemoembolization in the liver and radiotherapy to the T1 spine.

Outcomes:

After radiotherapy, the neuropathic pain was slightly improved.

Lessons:

If the patient is suspected of having thoracic radiculopathy, the physician should consider not only a herniated disc disease but also systemic disease. Because the prevalence of thoracic radiculopathy is very low and there is a high incidence of cancer that can spread to the spine in the elderly.

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