What are Pancoast tumors?

Updated: Jul 29, 2019
  • Author: Melanie Guerrero, MD; Chief Editor: Eugene C Lin, MD  more...
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Answer

Answer

Pancoast tumors are neoplasms of pulmonary origin located at the apical pleuropulmonary groove (superior sulcus). [1, 2]  By direct extension, Pancoast tumors typically involve the lower trunks of the brachial plexus, intercostal nerves, stellate ganglion, adjacent ribs, and vertebrae. As a result, patients may present with severe pain, often of neuropathic characteristics radiating toward the ipsilateral upper extremity and accompanied with sympathetic symptoms (like the Horner syndrome) caused by invasion of the cervicothoracic sympathetic ganglion. These manifestations may appear months prior to the diagnosis of the underlining disease. [3, 4, 5, 6]


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