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Hepatic Sclerosing Hemangioma Mimicking a Metastatic Liver Tumor: Report of a Case

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We present herein the case of a sclerosing hemangioma of the liver which was extremely difficult to differentiate from liver metastasis of rectal cancer, in a 67-year-old woman. All the radiological findings were compatible with liver metastasis; however, marginal pooling of the tumor revealed by computed tomographic angiography and magnetic resonance imaging scans was inconsistent with a diagnosis of liver metastasis. At laparotomy, the tumor was macroscopically unusual in that it was yellowish elastic-hard with a very clear margin, and thus, it did not have the appearance of a metastatic tumor. Mile's operation and a partial hepatectomy were performed, followed by an uneventful postoperative course and no signs of recurrence. The carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) level in the peripheral blood was not elevated at any time. The postoperative pathological diagnosis was a rare hepatic tumor, namely, a "sclerosing hemangioma," based on the findings of cellular fibrous stroma containing vascular channels with flattened endothelial cells. Preoperatively differentiating between sclerosing hemangioma and a metastatic liver tumor from colorectal cancer may be very difficult; however, this case demonstrated some interesting characteristics, namely, the serum CEA level was not elevated, marginal pooling of the tumor was found in the enhanced radiological findings, and the tumor was macroscopically unusual. Therefore, the possibility of sclerosing hemangioma should be borne in mind when considering the differential diagnosis of patients suspected of having colorectal liver metastasis. A preoperative biopsy should be carried out and when a laparotomy is performed under the misdiagnosis of colorectal liver metastasis, it is advisable that either an intraoperative needle biopsy or a frozen histological analysis be undertaken to avoid unnecessary extended hepatic resection of this rare benign hepatic tumor.

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Received: July 2, 1999 / Accepted: March 24, 2000

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Yamashita, Yi., Shimada, M., Taguchi, Ki. et al. Hepatic Sclerosing Hemangioma Mimicking a Metastatic Liver Tumor: Report of a Case. Surg Today 30, 849–852 (2000).

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