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Portal site metastasis of invasive mesothelioma after diagnostic thoracoscopy in a dog

Brigitte A. Brisson DMV, DVSc, DACVS1, Felipe Reggeti DVM, MSc, PhD2, and Dorothee Bienzle DVM, PhD, DACVP3
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  • 1 Department of Clinical Studies, Ontario Veterinary College, University Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada.
  • | 2 Department of Pathobiology, Ontario Veterinary College, University Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada.
  • | 3 Department of Pathobiology, Ontario Veterinary College, University Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada.


Case Description—A 10-year-old Golden Retriever evaluated because of recurrent pericardial and pleural effusion underwent thoracoscopy with biopsy of the pleura and mediastinum.

Clinical Findings—Before thoracoscopy, 5 L of serosanguinous fluid was removed from the pleural cavity via thoracocentesis. During thoracoscopic exploration, it was observed that the parietal pleura and mediastinum were covered by miliary white to tan nodules 1 to 3 mm in diameter. Biopsy specimens were obtained, and partial pericardiectomy was performed. Portal sites were closed routinely. Cytologic evaluation of the pleural fluid revealed high protein concentration and cellularity, with cellular changes consistent with an exfoliating carcinoma. Results of bacterial culture were negative.

Treatment and Outcome—Carboplatin was administered via intracavitary instillation, and prednisone was administered orally. Twenty-one days later, 1 firm, irregularly shaped 6.5 × 3-cm mass and 4 smaller masses were detected in the area of the left thoracic wall where the cannula had been inserted during thoracoscopy. Histologic analysis of tissue from the masses collected at necropsy confirmed that they were malignant tumors with similar appearance to the pleural mesothelioma and immunohistochemical staining properties identical to those of the primary tumor.

Clinical Relevance—Although thoracoscopy is associated with less postoperative pain, shorter hospitalization times, and faster patient recovery than sternotomy procedures, complications are also possible with minimally invasive endoscopic surgery. Portal site metastasis can develop from contamination of portal sites with cells on instruments or cannulas or via leakage of effusion fluid. Although rare, this potential complication should be discussed with owners prior to performing the procedure.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Brisson.