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Lymphoma presented as dysphagia: a diagnosis hard to swallow


An 18-year-old woman presented with progressive oesophageal dysphagia, weight loss and night sweats over a 6-month period. Oesophagogastroduodenoscopy revealed a diffuse luminal narrowing with normal mucosa, whose biopsies were inconclusive. A cervical and thoracic CT scan showed a thickening of the upper oesophagus, densification of the mediastinal fat, several adenopathies and a 4.3×2.4 cm mass with infiltrative appearance and heterogeneous enhancement in right cervical paravertebral location. Positron emission tomography-CT showed marked increased fluorodeoxyglucose uptake in supradiaphragmatic lymph nodes, pleuropulmonary tissue, paraspinal musculature and bone marrow. Imaging-guided and surgical incisional biopsies of the paravertebral mass were inconclusive. During hospitalisation, she developed right cervicobrachial paraesthesia. Only excisional biopsy of the mass allowed the diagnosis of high-grade B-cell lymphoma not otherwise specified, Ann Arbor stage IV-B. The patient underwent chemotherapy with R-CHOP (rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine and prednisolone), followed by R-EPOCH (rituximab, etoposide, prednisone, vincristine, cyclophosphamide and doxorubicin hydrochloride). Follow-up at 12 months revealed complete response.

  • endoscopy
  • malignant and benign haematology
  • oesophagus

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