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NBME 22 Answers

nbme22/Block 4/Question#27

A 78-year-old man comes to the physician because of ...

Metastatic carcinoma

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 +4  upvote downvote
submitted by notadoctor(52),

Metastatic disease is more common than primary bone tumors.





 +1  upvote downvote
submitted by oznefu(7),

I’m having trouble understanding why this is a better choice than Paget disease, especially with the increased ALP?

zelderonmorningstar  Paget’s would also show some sclerosis. +1  
seagull  ALK is increased in bone breakdown too. Prostate loves spreading to the lumbar Spine. It's like crack-cocaine for cancer. +1  
aesalmon  I think the "Worse at night" lends itself more towards mets, and the pt demographics lean towards prostate cancer, which loves to go to the lumbar spine via the Batson plexus. I picked Paget but i think they would have given something more telling if they wanted pagets, histology or another clue +  
fcambridge  @seagull and aesalmon, I think you're a bit off here. Prostate mets would be osteoblastic, not osteolytic as is described in the vignette. +5  
sup  Yeah I chose Paget's too bcz I figured if it wasn't prostate cancer (which as @fcambridge said would present w/ osteoblastic lesions) they would give us another presenting sx of the metastatic cancer (lung, renal, skin) that might point us in that direction. I got distracted by the increased ALP too and fell for Paget :( +  
kernicterusthefrog  @fcambridge, not exactly. Yes, prostate mets tends to be osteoblastic, but about 30% are found to be lytic, per this study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2768452/ Additionally, the night bone pains point to mets, and Paget's is much more commonly found in the cranial bones and appendicular skeleton, than axial. This could also be RCC mets! +  
sweetmed  I mainly ruled out pagets because they said the physical examination was normal. He would def have other symptoms. +2  
cathartic_medstu  From what I remember from Pathoma: Metastasis to bone is usually osteolytic with exception to prostate, which is osteoblastic. Therefore, stem says NUMEROUS lytic lesions and sounds more like metastasis. +1  


but prostate cancer is not lytic as blastic lesions

+/- titanesxvi(0),


 +0  upvote downvote
submitted by amphotericin(0),

I ruled out Paget's because Paget's is usually localized, per FA, Pathoma, B&B. Although this patient definitely fits the demographic picture, prostate cancer is definitely not the only cancer that can metastasize to the bones. Because these are lytic lesions, it's probably some other cancer that's spread to the bones