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Pleuropulmonary tuberculosis with spinal lesions due to metastatic malignancy differentiated definitively on imaging


A healthy 31-year-old man presenting with back pain was found to have multiple spinal enhancing lesions on MRI. An incidental asymptomatic large pleural effusion was identified on investigations for the back pain and pleural and pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) was subsequently diagnosed. The radiographical features on MRI spine were not typical of spinal TB and a Ga68 DOTATATE Positron Emission Tomography (PET)/CT confirmed metastatic paraganglioma with multiple bone metastases. Although metastatic paraganglioma is rare, this case highlights that even in young patients dual pathology needs to be considered. Most importantly, it is a reminder to physicians managing TB of the clues that help distinguish spinal TB from important alternative causes, including metastatic malignancy.

  • head and neck cancer
  • tuberculosis
  • endocrine cancer

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