A Case of Angioimmunoblastic T-cell Lymphoma Hidden in Plain Sight: A Delay in Diagnosis and Management

Ndausung Udongwo, Nusha Fareen, Hayley Fried, Jennifer Nessim, Lakshmi Rehka Narra, Dhairya Gor, Varsha Gupta, Narmeen Farooq, Saira Chaughtai


Angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma (AITL) is an uncommon type of cluster of differentiation (CD)4 T-cell peripheral lymphoma. The varied clinical presentations of AITL present a challenge for accurate diagnosis. We present a case of a 57-year-old female with a history of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in May 2020, who presented to the hospital in the summer of 2021 with shortness of breath for 3 months. She underwent an extensive workup for lymphadenopathy while in Canada involving multiple core lymph node biopsies, which were inconclusive. Here in our institution, several tests for infectious diseases were unremarkable. Imaging tests revealed bilateral pleural effusion, lymphadenopathies, and rectal thickening. Results from rectal biopsy and excisional cervical lymph node biopsy revealed findings typical of AITL. Due to worsening hypoxia with pleural fluid accumulation, bilateral chest tubes (PleurX catheter) were placed. Steroids and chemotherapy were started. She was discharged in stable condition to follow-up care. An integrated and persistent approach comprising clinical, morphologic, excisional biopsy, immunophenotyping, and molecular tests is essential in reaching a correct diagnosis of AITL. Through our consistent effort to obtain further imaging and tissue biopsies, we came to the diagnosis which allowed her to begin appropriate life-saving treatments.

J Med Cases. 2022;13(3):109-114
doi: https://doi.org/10.14740/jmc3890


Angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma; Excisional biopsy; Immunophenotyping; Lymphadenopathy; Lymph nodes; Non-Hodgkin lymphoma; Chemotherapy; Core needle biopsy

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