J Korean Dysphagia Soc.  2023 Jul;13(2):149-154. 10.34160/jkds.23.006.

Oropharyngeal Dysphagia Detected on VFSS in a Patient with Pancoast Tumor: A Case Report

  • 1Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Pusan National University Yangsan Hospital, Yangsan, Korea
  • 2Research Institute for Convergence of Biomedical Science and Technology, Pusan National University Yangsan Hospital, Yangsan, Korea
  • 3Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Pusan National University School of Medicine, Yangsan, Korea
  • 4Department of Radiology, Pusan National University Yangsan Hospital, Yangsan, Korea


A Pancoast tumor is a rare form of lung cancer that occurs mainly in the apex of the lung as the main symptom of upper extremity pain. Oropharyngeal dysphagia is not a common symptom. This case report describes a 57-year-old male patient with a Pancoast tumor who presented with oropharyngeal dysphagia. The patient's symptoms included left shoulder and arm pain. The chest computed tomography revealed a mass in the apex of the left lung, invading the mediastinum and compressing the left brachial vein and brachial plexus. He was discharged after receiving palliative chemotherapy. The patient returned to the hospital with dyspnea and was diagnosed with aspiration pneumonia. The cranial nerve exam confirmed hoarseness and an absent gag reflex. In addition, the laryngeal elevation decreased, and the bedside water test was positive. A video fluoroscopic swallow study confirmed the presence of oropharyngeal dysphagia, which was attributed to left glossopharyngeal and vagus nerve damage associated with the Pancoast tumor. This case highlights the need to be aware that a Pancoast tumor can cause oropharyngeal dysphagia. If oropharyngeal dysphagia is suspected, VFSS should be performed to prevent complications leading to mortality from lung cancer.


Pancoast syndrome; Deglutition disorders; Cranial nerve diseases; Lung neoplasms
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