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We present a case of esophageal adenocarcinoma that initially presented with signs and symptoms of choroidal metastasis.
A 72-year-old Caucasian male presented with left eye peripheral vision loss, accompanied by occasional photopsias and mild intermittent eye pain. The patient had a remote history of enucleation of his right eye secondary to a traumatic injury. The patient’s review of systems was negative except for longstanding gastroesophageal reflux that was controlled by ranitidine.
Ophthalmologic examination of the left eye revealed a superonasal choroidal mass with associated serous retinal detachment (Fig. 1). B-scan ultrasonography of the left eye demonstrated a choroidal lesion measuring 4.82 mm by 14.37 mm (Fig. 2). A-scan demonstrated moderate internal reflectivity. Systemic work-up and imaging were initiated, and the patient was referred to oncology.
Magnetic resonance imaging of the brain revealed multiple brain lesions, and contrast-enhanced computed tomography of the chest revealed a distal esophageal mass that extended to the gastroesophageal junction. Subsequent esophagogastroduodenoscopy showed a 75% obstructing mass. Biopsies displayed moderately differentiated adenocarcinoma and amplification of the ERBB2 (HER2/neu) gene.
Ultimately, the patient was not deemed to be a good surgical candidate, and palliative whole-brain, orbit, and eventual spine external beam radiation therapy were pursued. Subsequently, the patient underwent treatment with capecitabine and trastuzumab.
The majority of metastases arise from breast or lung primaries, but choroidal metastases arising from gastrointestinal tract tumours are less common.
Nevertheless, choroidal metastases from the lower gastrointestinal tract predominate among the reported cases, whereas metastases from esophageal sources prove to be quite rare according to the literature.
In 2003, there were only 3 published accounts of choroidal metastasis arising from adenocarcinoma. According to an American Society of Clinical Oncology 2010 article, “esophageal carcinomas metastasizing to the uveal tract are extremely rare.”
Because of its highly vascular nature, it is possible that virtually any cancer can spread hematogenously to the choroid. Metastatic tumours spreading to the choroid manifest clinically with progressive visual disturbances, photopsias, and floaters or are completely asymptomatic and diagnosed incidentally as yellow and possibly multilobulated structures on fundoscopic examination.
The appearance of esophageal adenocarcinoma metastasis to the choroid is typically no different from that of the lung and breast on fundoscopy and will give similar reflectivity on A-scan ultrasonography. As seen in our patient, echographically, metastatic choroidal lesions have irregular boarders, medium-high irregular internal reflectivity, and relatively little internal vascularity.
The malignancy has a strong male predominance (7–10×) and has a mortality rate of 85%. In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of cases of adenocarcinoma of the esophagus, associated with the increasing prevalence of GERD and Barrett’s esophagus.