Only 50% to 70% of patients with mesothelioma report asbestos exposure. Other exposures (eg, radiation) play a role in some cases, but some patients have no obvious cause. We describe a series of patients with long-standing indwelling intra-abdominal shunt catheters who developed malignant peritoneal mesothelioma, suggesting a novel association. We identified 7 patients who had shunts and subsequently developed mesothelioma (5 women; median age: 31 y, range: 18 to 45 y). Clinical history and pathology materials were reviewed, and RNA sequencing was performed. Clinical presentations varied; 6 patients had hydrocephalus and a ventriculoperitoneal shunt, and 1 patient had portal hypertension and a portoatrial shunt. The median duration of shunt therapy in 5 cases was 29 years (range: 12 to 35 y); the remaining 2 patients also had shunts for many years, but specific details were unavailable. Two patients had radiotherapy for malignancies in childhood. One had an alleged exposure to asbestos and 1 had prior exposure to talc. The rest had no known risk factors. Histologically, all tumors were purely epithelioid. Treatments included surgical debulking, chemotherapy, and palliative care. All 7 died of disease (median survival: 7 mo, range: 1 to 18 mo). Molecular testing showed loss of NF2 and CDKN2A/B and a BAP1 mutation in 1 case, and no genomic alterations associated with mesothelioma in 2 cases. Peritoneal mesothelioma may represent a complication of long-standing indwelling shunt catheters. The mechanism is unknown, but chronic peritoneal irritation may play a role. Albeit rare, mesothelioma should be considered in patients with a shunt who present with new ascites.
- ventriculoperitoneal shunt
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine