Secondary Cardiac Tumors

  • Chiara Lestuzzi
  • Carlos A. Roldan


Secondary cardiac tumors are tumors originating in other organs/tissues that extend to the heart. The primary tumor may be localized within the thorax (lung and mediastinal tumors), below the diaphragm (renal carcinoma), or be extrathoracic (breast carcinoma). The most common malignancies extending to the heart are lung carcinomas (35–40 %), hematologic malignancies (10–20 %), and breast carcinomas (10 %). Other various types constitute about 30 %. Cardiac metastases reach the heart through the inferior or superior vena cava, the coronary arteries, and the lymphatic vessels or by continuity. The most frequent site of cardiac metastases is the pericardium. A pericardial effusion is a rather frequent finding in patients with cancer and may be secondary to pericardial metastases, lymphatic obstruction, or cancer treatment (mostly radiation therapy); about 65–70 % of pericardial effusions in cancer patients are due to metastases. The most frequent causes of neopalstic pericarditis are lung and breast cancer. The most common tumors causing myocardial metastasis are hematologic malignancies, breast carcinoma, and sarcomas. Endocavitary tumors reach the heart more commonly through the inferior vena cava: often these metastases are a mix of tumor and thrombus. The most common endocavitary metastases are due to renal, hepatic, or gynecologic carcinomas.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cardiology UnitAviano (PN)Italy
  2. 2.University of New Mexico School of Medicine and VA Medical CenterAlbuquerqueUSA

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