Open Access Research article

Remodeling of the pulmonary artery induced by metastatic gastric carcinoma: a histopathological analysis of 51 autopsy cases

Takao Ishiwatari1, Yoichiro Okubo1*, Naobumi Tochigi1, Megumi Wakayama1, Tetsuo Nemoto1, Junko Kobayashi1, Minoru Shinozaki1, Kyoko Aki1, Daisuke Sasai1, Yoshiro Yamamoto1, Haruo Nakayama2 and Kazutoshi Shibuya13

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Surgical Pathology, Toho University School of Medicine, 6-11-1, Omori-Nishi, Ota-Ku, Tokyo 143-8541, Japan

2 Department of Neurosurgery, Toho University Ohashi Medical Center, 2-17-6, Ohashi, Meguro, Tokyo 153-8515, Japan

3 Department of Dermatology, Peking University First Hospital, Beijing, China

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BMC Cancer 2014, 14:14  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-14

Published: 10 January 2014



Gastric carcinoma remains the second commonest cause of cancer deaths worldwide. Presence of the carcinoma cell in the pulmonary artery is serious condition that might cause remodeling of the pulmonary artery. The present study conducted detailed histopathological analyses to elucidate how gastric carcinoma cells may affect the structure and hemodynamics of pulmonary arteries.


Remodeling of the pulmonary artery was assessed based on measurements of arterial diameters and stenosis rates from the autopsies, and their correlation were also validated. We additionally calculated 95 percent confidential intervals (CIs) for the rate of stenosis in groups of pulmonary arteries of different caliber zones (under 100, 100 to 300, and over 300 micrometer). The right ventricular thickness was measured and examined whether it correlated with the rate of pulmonary arterial stenosis.


A total of 4612 autopsy cases were recorded at our institute, among which 168 had gastric carcinoma. Finally, 51 cases of the gastric carcinoma were employed for the study which had carcinoma cells in the lumen of the pulmonary artery. The mean right ventricular wall thickness of these cases was 3.14 mm. There were significant positive associations between the rates of pulmonary arterial stenosis and right ventricular thickness from pulmonary arteries of diameter under 100, 100 to 300, and over 300 micrometer. In these zones, 31, 31, and 33 cases had rates of pulmonary arterial stenosis that were below the lower limit of the 95 percent CI values, respectively. On the other hand, among cases with significant pulmonary stenosis, 17 of 18 cases with stenosis in the over 300 micrometer zone involved pulmonary arteries of both in the under 100 and 100 to 300 micrometer zones.


One-third of autopsy with advanced gastric carcinoma had carcinoma cells in lumen of pulmonary artery, but implantation and proliferation may be essential to induce intimal thickening that causes an increasing of pulmonary arterial pressure, because our study revealed a significant positive association between the rate of pulmonary arterial stenosis and right ventricular thickness. In addition, diffuse type gastric carcinoma may be apt to cause the remodeling of the pulmonary artery.

Remodeling; Pulmonary hypertension; Pulmonary tumor thrombotic microangiopathy