Secondary Polycythemia and Non-Islet Cell Tumor-induced Hypoglycemia in Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma: A Case Report

Maria Satya Paramitha, Dekta Filantropi Esa, Ni Made Hustrini, Nadia Ayu Mulansari, Irsan Hasan, Agnes Stephanie Harahap


Continuously holding its position as the sixth most common cause of cancer and the third leading cause of cancer death, globally, Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) remains as a healthcare priority. Production of various substances may result into systemic or metabolic complications, often known as paraneoplastic phenomena of HCC.
A 56-year-old male with history of untreated chronic hepatitis B arrived with generalized weakness and intermittent headache in the last two days prior to admission. Laboratory findings demonstrated elevated hemoglobin (20.5 g/dl), alpha-fetoprotein (29,845 ng/dl), and d-Dimer (2,120 ng/ml) levels. Hypoglycemia (44 mg/dl) was documented with normal basal insulin level, confirming non-islet cell tumor hypoglycemia. Abdominal multiphasic CT-scan demonstrated a large solid lesion involving the whole right liver lobe, hyper-enhanced at arterial phase and wash-out pattern at venous and delayed phases, with portal vein thrombosis; thus, confirming HCC BCLC C. Further examinations revealed hypercellularity from bone marrow biopsy with the absence of JAK2 mutation. He underwent serial phlebotomy and received 80 mg acetylsalicylic acid orally, as well as cytoreductive agent to reduce the risk of thrombosis. Despite applications of different interventions, control of hypoglycemia could not be achieved without parenteral administration of high dextrose load. He was planned to receive oral multikinase inhibitor, however, he passed away due to severe hospital-acquired pneumonia.
Paraneoplastic phenomena are common in HCC. Increased risk of blood hyper-viscosity and thrombosis attributed to polycythemia, as well as medical emergency resulting from hypoglycemia showed that both conditions should not be overlooked since they may worsen the patient’s prognosis.


Hepatocellular Carcinoma; Secondary Polycythemia; Secondary Erythrocytosis; Non-Islet Cell Tumor-Induced Hypoglycemia


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