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Pancoast's syndrome

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A syndrome characterized by a malignant neoplasm of the cervical area with destructive lesions of the thorax inlet and involvement of the brachial plexus and cervical sympathetic nerves. This is accompanied by severe pain in the shoulder region radiating toward the axilla and scapula along the ulnar aspect of the muscles of the hand, atrophy of hand and arm muscles, Bernard-Horner syndrome, and compression of the blood vessels with oedema.. The neoplasm is known as Pancoast's tumour.

First described by the British surgeon Edward Selleck Hare (1812-1838) in 1838. Publio Ciuffini described it in 1911. Pancoast in 1924 reported three cases of this condition and in 1932 described it under the heading "superior pulmonary sulcus tumors."

We thank Andre Trombeta for information submitted.


  • E. S. Hare:
    Tumor involving certain nerves.
    London Medical Gazette, 2nd series, 1838/39, 1: 16-18.
  • H. K. Pancoast:
    Importance of careful roentgen-ray investigation of apical chest tumors.
    Journal of the American Medical Association, Chicago, 1924, 83: 1407.
  • H. K. Pancoast:
    Superior pulmonary sulcus tumor. Tumor characterised by pain, Horner’s syndrome, destruction of bone and atrophy of hand muscles.
    Journal of the American Medical Association,1932, 99: 1391-1396.
  • J. W. Tobías:
    Sindrome ápico-costo-vertebral doloroso por tumor apexiano. Su valor diagnóstico en el cáncer primitivo pulmonare.
    Revista medica Latino-americana, Buenos Aires, 1932, 17: 1522-1557.

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