Recurrent orbital inflammation from metastatic orbital carcinoid tumor

Robert J. Knox, James W. Gigantelli, Bryan P. Arthurs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Purpose: To report an unusual clinical presentation for carcinoid tumor metastatic to the orbit. Methods: Two adult patients with metastatic carcinoid tumor and unilateral orbital masses are described. Results: Both patients sought treatment for acute unilateral orbital inflammation. Neuroimaging revealed orbital metastases adjacent to the inflamed adnexal tissue. Based on each patient's description of similar, prior, untreated episodes, minimal medical management was initiated. Resolution of the inflammatory signs was spontaneous in one case and assisted by pulsed, systemic corticosteroids in the second case. Compressive neuropathic vision loss occurred 11 months later in the second case. Conclusions: Carcinoid tumor metastatic to the orbit may manifest as recurrent orbital and ocular adnexal inflammation. These signs differ from systemic carcinoid syndrome in that they are unilateral, limited lo only the orbital and ocular adnexal soft tissues, and resolve over days. Clinicians must carefully differentiate this manifestation from that of tumor necrosis, adnexal infection, or orbital outlet obstruction. This presentation may result from the spontaneous release of local inflammatory mediators intrinsic lo the orbital tumor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-139
Number of pages3
JournalOphthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Ophthalmology


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