Effective cardiac radiotherapy relieved life-threatening heart failure caused by advanced small cell lung cancer with cardiac metastasis: a case report
Cardiac radiotherapy is rarely used in clinical practice because of concern of adverse effects on the heart. We present a case of a 64-year-old man with advanced small cell lung cancer (SCLC) treated with chemo-radiotherapy who attained partial remission initially but had disease progression to bulky cardiac metastasis and significant pericardial effusion. Severe heart failure with hepatic failure was found. Chemotherapy and pericardiocentesis were contraindicated because of the associated high risk and bleeding tendency. Emergent palliative cardiac radiotherapy resulted in rapid improvements of dyspnea, liver function, and urine output. Pericardiocentesis was performed 5 days later and effusion cytology confirmed metastatic SCLC. To our knowledge, this is the first case of effective cardiac radiotherapy for SCLC with life-threatening cardiac metastasis. Palliative cardiac radiotherapy may be an effective alternative treatment for radiosensitive malignancy with cardiac metastasis in cases of multiple organ dysfunction and unsuitability for chemotherapy and pericardiocentesis.