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Case report
Lactic acidosis: a unique presentation of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma
  1. Turab Jawaid Mohammed,
  2. Rohit Gosain,
  3. Rajeev Sharma and
  4. Pallawi Torka
  1. Hematology/Oncology, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, New York, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Rohit Gosain; rohit.gosain{at}


An elderly man in the seventh decade of life was brought to the hospital with worsening mental status. Blood tests revealed anaemia and thrombocytopenia with elevated lactate dehydrogenase and serum lactate levels. CT scan showed bulky thoracic and abdominal lymphadenopathy with splenomegaly. A positron emission tomography scan confirmed the above and in addition, revealed bilateral adrenal involvement. Bone marrow biopsy revealed non-germinal centre B-cell-like (non-GCB)-diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). Prompt treatment with dose-adjusted etoposide, prednisone, vincristine, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin and rituximab with intrathecal methotrexate chemotherapy resulted in a dramatic improvement in the patient’s condition. This vignette serves as a reminder to include aggressive lymphomas like DLBCL in the differential diagnoses of patients presenting with metabolic encephalopathy and lactic acidosis. Our patient was moribund at presentation with poor sensorium and failure to thrive. The dilemma was whether to take an aggressive stand and start chemotherapy urgently or whether to stabilise the patient first and then consider the treatment of DLBCL. We make a case for initiating therapy promptly in such patients irrespective of their performance status.

  • cancer intervention
  • metabolic disorders
  • haematology (incl blood transfusion)
  • nosocomial infections
  • coma and raised intracranial pressure

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  • Contributors TJM prepared the manuscript for the case report. RG helped TJM in preparing the manuscript by providing editorial support. RS and PT reviewed the manuscript at the end and provided valuable intellectual inputs.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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