Rarely sudden death may occur as a result of an occult malignancy.

Tumors may be an adenocarcinoma, renal or hepatocellular carcinoma, sarcoma, brain tumor or acute leukemia.


Cause of death may involve:

(1) pulmonary embolism (may be tumor or clot)

(2) intracerebral event (hemorrhage, mass effect)

(3) cardiac metastasis

(4) septic shock

(5) massive hemorrhage


Reasons why undiagnosed:

(1) rapidly growing tumor or sudden tumor expansion

(2) symptoms dismissed by patient

(3) occult location


These cases underscore the need for postmortem examination, especially if the tumor carries familial risk. This includes examination of the brain.

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