Woman with rare tumour undergoes liver transplant

A 25-year-old woman with a rare liver tumour underwent transplantation in a private hospital and was discharged a week later.

The woman suffered from hepatic epitheloid hemangio endothelioma (HEHE), a tumour that occurs in the soft tissues or blood vessels in the lung, liver or bone. Such tumours require to be diagnosed early and treated, said K. Elankumaran, head of liver diseases transplantation and hepatobiliary surgery, Kauvery Hospital.

The patient, from Coimbatore, presented with symptoms of upper abdominal pain and significant loss of weight. “Upon abdominal scan and investigations, we found the presence of an unusual kind of liver cancer (HEHE). We recommended liver transplantation,” the surgeon said.

The patient’s uncle was the donor. “After assessing both the patient and donor, we went ahead with the transplantation procedure. We transplanted the right lobe of the liver from the donor to the patient. She had a quick and uncomplicated recovery and was discharged from the hospital in a week,” he added. According to the doctor, the rare cancer is poorly diagnosed due to its heterogeneous nature. He further said cancer could occur in any soft tissues surrounding organs such as lung, liver or bones and metastasise to other parts.

HEHE is prevalent in one in one lakh population and requires accurate and timely diagnosis. Some patients could be asymptomatic with abdominal pain and weight loss being absent, he said.

"The cancer, which occurs more often among young adults, is mostly undiagnosed early as it could be asymptomatic. The doctors or patient usually come across this condition only upon examination during an MRI scan /CT scan for some other purpose. The cause of occurrence is still unknown and is not hereditary," Dr. Elankumaran said.

Hospital co-founder and executive director Aravindan Selvaraj said: “Cancers occur over a very wide spectrum — which refers to a range of manifestations and severities of illness associated with the disease There have been many rare types researched and diagnosed over the years. A team which is on a par with global standards in diagnosis, treatment and research, with well-equipped infrastructure, helps in treating such rare type of cancers."

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