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An Unusual Triad of Hemophagocytic Syndrome, Lymphoma and Tuberculosis in a Non-HIV Patient

Challenging differential diagnosis, Rare co-existance of disease or pathology

Hafiz Rizwan Talib Hashmi, Rashmi Mishra, Masooma Niazi, Sindhaghatta Venkatram, Gilda Diaz-Fuentes

USA Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Bronx Lebanon Hospital Center, Bronx, NY, USA

Am J Case Rep 2017; 18:739-745

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.903990

Available online:

Published: 2017-07-03


#903990

BACKGROUND: Lymphoma complicated with hemophagocytic syndrome and tuberculosis has been rarely reported. The clinical and radiological presentation of these potentially fatal conditions can be easily confused and there is a potential for misdiagnosis.
CASE REPORT: We present a 58-year-old Hispanic female who was admitted to the hospital with dizziness and fever. Her initial admission diagnosis was severe sepsis secondary to community acquired pneumonia. She was started on intravenous antibiotics. Due to mediastinal lymphadenopathy, lymphoma was considered as a differential diagnosis for which she underwent bronchoscopy and endobronchial ultrasound-guided sampling of her mediastinal lymph nodes. Lymph node aspirate was suggestive of lymphoma. Initial cultures were negative. Her clinical course was complicated with respiratory failure, cytopenia, and rapidly progressive cervical lymphadenopathy. The patient underwent cervical lymph node excision and bone marrow biopsy. The pathology of the lymph nodes confirmed T cell lymphoma, and bone marrow revealed hemophagocytosis. The patient was started on chemotherapy but she continued to deteriorate and died on day 20 of her hospital admission. Post-mortem results of cultures from a cervical lymph node biopsy and PCR were positive for Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
CONCLUSIONS: We suggest an aggressive tissue diagnosis with staining for acid-fast bacilli for early diagnosis in patients presenting with hemophagocytic syndrome secondary to lymphoma as coexisting tuberculosis is a consideration. Tuberculosis re-activation should be considered in patients from an endemic region who present with lymphoma and a deteriorating clinical condition.

Keywords: Lymphohistiocytosis, Hemophagocytic, Lymphoma, Tuberculosis



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