Metastatic Breast Cancer Presenting as Progressive Ophthalmoplegia 30 Years after Initial Cancer Diagnosis

Sam Karimaghaei, Subahari Raviskanthan, Peter W. Mortensen, Amina I. Malik, Andrew G. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


A 60 year-old woman presented with painless progressive ophthalmoplegia of the right eye. She had a history of left-sided breast carcinoma 30 years ago that was managed with mastectomy only, with appropriate serial follow-up investigations. On examination, her visual acuity was 20/400 in the right eye and 20/20 in the left. She had a right relative afferent pupillary defect. Ocular examination was significant for 2 mm of ptosis, complete ophthalmoplegia, and 2+ chemosis in the right eye. The left eye was normal. MRI of the brain and orbits showed bilateral retrobulbar infiltrative disease in the right eye greater than that in the left eye. Right orbitotomy and biopsy confirmed an infiltrative signet ring cell/histiocytoid carcinoma consistent with metastatic lobular breast carcinoma. Given that recurrence of breast cancer is most common during the second year after the initial disease and rarely reported beyond 20 years after the initial diagnosis, our patient's delayed recurrence 30 years after the treatment of initial disease is unusual and rare. However, it highlights the importance of including metastatic cancer in the differential diagnosis for ophthalmoplegia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E446-E447
JournalJournal of Neuro-Ophthalmology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022


  • Breast Neoplasms/complications
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mastectomy
  • Middle Aged
  • Ophthalmoplegia/diagnosis
  • Visual Acuity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Ophthalmology


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