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An Autopsy Case of an Elderly Patient with Classic Hodgkin Lymphoma Presenting with a Plethora of Clinical Symptoms and Signs

Hiroshi Kobayashi, Ryouya Seki, Masuo Ujita, Kana Hirayama, Satoshi Yamada, Riuko Ohashi, Yoshiro Otsuki, Takuya Watanabe, Tadashi Yoshino

(Department of Pathology, Tachikawa General Hospital, Nagaoka, Niigata, Japan)

Am J Case Rep 2020; 21:e926177

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.926177


BACKGROUND: Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) is a potentially curable disease with favorable outcomes. However, elderly patients with HL usually have more adverse prognostic factors and hence a much worse prognosis than younger patients.
CASE REPORT: The patient was a woman in her 80s. She reported high fever, anorexia, and a weight loss of 8 kg within 5 months. She had been on treatment for diabetes mellitus and hypertension. She had undergone percutaneous coronary intervention and pacemaker implantation to treat acute coronary syndrome and sinus arrhythmia, respectively. Blood tests showed elevation of alkaline phosphatase, C-reactive protein, leukocyte count, CA 19-9, and carcinoembryonic antigen. Computed tomography did not show tumors in the liver, and cholangitis and sepsis were suspected. Aspartate transaminase, alanine aminotransferase, and total bilirubin gradually increased through the course of the patient’s hospital stay. Despite treatment, her condition deteriorated and she died 22 days after hospital admission. At autopsy, we found stage IV HL with lymph node swelling on both sides of the diaphragm, as well as diffusely disseminated nodules in the liver and spleen.
CONCLUSIONS: Our patient had several poor prognostic factors including B symptoms, comorbidity, advanced stage, Epstein-Barr virus infection, and expression of programmed death-ligand 1 and interleukin-6, all of which were closely connected with her advanced age. Her age and comorbidities may have been the most adverse prognostic factors for her illness. An effective HL screening method for elderly individuals should be developed to ameliorate poor prognosis and adverse outcomes.

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