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Open access

Charlotte Delcourt, Halil Yildiz, Alessandra Camboni, Eric Van den Neste, Véronique Roelants, Alexandra Kozyreff, Jean Paul Thissen, Dominique Maiter and Raluca Maria Furnica

Summary

A 26-year-old woman presented with persistent headache and tiredness. Biological investigations disclosed a moderate inflammatory syndrome, low PTH-hypercalcemia and complete anterior hypopituitarism. A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the pituitary gland was performed and revealed a symmetric enlargement with a heterogeneous signal. Ophthalmological examination showed an asymptomatic bilateral anterior and posterior uveitis, and a diagnosis of pituitary sarcoidosis was suspected. As the localization of lymphadenopathies on the fused whole-body FDG-PET/computerized tomography (CT) was not evoking a sarcoidosis in first instance, an excisional biopsy of a left supraclavicular adenopathy was performed showing classic nodular sclerosis Hodgkin’s lymphoma (HL). A diagnostic transsphenoidal biopsy of the pituitary gland was proposed for accurate staging of the HL and surprisingly revealed typical granulomatous inflammation secondary to sarcoidosis, leading to the diagnosis of a sarcoidosis–lymphoma syndrome. The co-existence of these diseases constitutes a diagnostic challenge and we emphasize the necessity of exact staging of disease in order to prescribe adequate treatment.

Learning points:

  • The possibility of a sarcoidosis–lymphoma syndrome, although rare, should be kept in mind during evaluation for lymphadenopathies.
  • In the case of such association, lymphoma usually occurs after sarcoidosis. However, sarcoidosis and lymphoma can be detected simultaneously and development of sarcoidosis in a patient with previous lymphoma has also been reported.
  • An accurate diagnosis of the disease and the respective organ involvements, including biopsy, is necessary in order to prescribe adequate treatment.
Open access

Lima Lawrence, Peng Zhang, Humberto Choi, Usman Ahmad, Valeria Arrossi, Andrei Purysko and Vinni Makin

Summary

Ectopic adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) production leading to ectopic ACTH syndrome accounts for a small proportion of all Cushing’s syndrome (CS) cases. Thymic neuroendocrine tumors are rare neoplasms that may secrete ACTH leading to rapid development of hypercortisolism causing electrolyte and metabolic abnormalities, uncontrolled hypertension and an increased risk for opportunistic infections. We present a unique case of a patient who presented with a mediastinal mass, revealed to be an ACTH-secreting thymic neuroendocrine tumor (NET) causing ectopic CS. As the diagnosis of CS from ectopic ACTH syndrome (EAS) remains challenging, we emphasize the necessity for high clinical suspicion in the appropriate setting, concordance between biochemical, imaging and pathology findings, along with continued vigilant monitoring for recurrence after definitive treatment.

Learning points:

  • Functional thymic neuroendocrine tumors are exceedingly rare.
  • Ectopic Cushing’s syndrome secondary to thymic neuroendocrine tumors secreting ACTH present with features of hypercortisolism including electrolyte and metabolic abnormalities, uncontrolled hypertension and hyperglycemia, and opportunistic infections.
  • The ability to undergo surgery and completeness of resection are the strongest prognostic factors for improved overall survival; however, the recurrence rate remains high.
  • A high degree of initial clinical suspicion followed by vigilant monitoring is required for patients with this challenging disease.
Open access

Su Ann Tee, Earn Hui Gan, Mohamad Zaher Kanaan, David Ashley Price, Tim Hoare and Simon H S Pearce

Summary

Primary adrenal insufficiency secondary to syphilis is extremely rare, with only five cases being reported in the literature. We report a case of adrenal insufficiency as a manifestation of Treponema pallidum infection (tertiary syphilis). A 69-year-old, previously fit and well Caucasian male was found to have adrenal insufficiency after being admitted with weight loss, anorexia and postural dizziness resulting in a fall. Biochemical testing showed hyponatraemia, hyperkalaemia, and an inadequate response to Synacthen testing, with a peak cortisol level of 302 nmol/L after administration of 250 µg Synacthen. Abdominal imaging revealed bilateral adrenal hyperplasia with inguinal and retroperitoneal lymphadenopathy. He was started on hydrocortisone replacement; however, it was not until he re-attended ophthalmology with a red eye and visual loss 1 month later, that further work-up revealed the diagnosis of tertiary syphilis. Following a course of penicillin, repeat imaging 5 months later showed resolution of the abnormal radiological appearances. However, adrenal function has not recovered and 3 years following initial presentation, the patient remains on both glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid replacement. In conclusion, this case highlights the importance of considering syphilis as a potential differential diagnosis in patients presenting with adrenal insufficiency and bilateral adrenal masses, given the recent re-emergence of this condition. The relative ease of treating infectious causes of adrenal lesions makes accurate and timely diagnosis crucial.

Learning points:

  • Infectious causes, including syphilis, should be excluded before considering adrenalectomy or biopsy for any patient presenting with an adrenal mass.
  • It is important to perform a full infection screen including tests for human immunodeficiency virus, other blood-borne viruses and concurrent sexually transmitted diseases in patients presenting with bilateral adrenal hyperplasia with primary adrenal insufficiency.
  • Awareness of syphilis as a potential differential diagnosis is important, as it not only has a wide range of clinical presentations, but its prevalence has been increasing in recent times.
Open access

Hiroto Minamino, Hidefumi Inaba, Hiroyuki Ariyasu, Hiroto Furuta, Masahiro Nishi, Takashi Yoshimasu, Akinori Nishikawa, Masanori Nakanishi, Shigeki Tsuchihashi, Fumiyoshi Kojima, Shin-ichi Murata, Gen Inoue and Takashi Akamizu

Summary

A 73-year-old man with Hashimoto's thyroiditis (HT) suffered from purpura on the lower legs. He was diagnosed with IgG4-related disease (IgG4-RD) with serum IgG4 elevation and dacryo-sialadenitis confirmed histologically. Serum Th2 and Treg cytokines, interleukin 7 (IL7), IL8 and Th2 chemokine levels were elevated, while skewed Th1 balance was seen in fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS). Therefore, preferential Th1 balance in HT appeared to be followed by IgG4-RD characterized with Th2 and Treg polarization. The commencement of steroid therapy dramatically exacerbated clinical manifestations including IgG4-RD-associated HT. The measurement of cytokine and chemokine levels as well as FACS analysis in the development of IgG4-RD seemed to be beneficial. In conclusion, an innovative association of HT, IgG4-RD and vasculitis was observed. This report also offers novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for IgG4-RD.

Learning points

  • Recently, a subtype of HT has been considered to be a thyroid manifestation of IgG4-RD, although the etiology of IgG4-RD is not established yet.
  • Immunologically a close association between HT and vasculitis was reported.
  • Leukocytoclastic vasculitis is a rare skin presentation of IgG4-RD.
  • In the current case, during the course of HT, IgG4-RD and leukocytoclastic vasculitis occurred; thus, innate immunity and acquired immunity seem to be involved in the development of IgG4-RD.
  • The measurement of cytokine and chemokines appeared to be beneficial in the development of IgG4-RD.
  • Remarkably, effectiveness of steroid therapy for HT suggested presence of IgG4-RD-associated HT. Therefore, this report highlights the pathogenesis of IgG4-RD and proposes novel therapeutic mechanisms. Clinicians should pay attention to the development of IgG4-RD and vasculitis during long course of HT.