Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Anaplastic bone lymphoma presenting as isolated back pain
  1. Erika Cefai1,2,
  2. Gabriella Montanaro2 and
  3. Cecilia Mercieca1,2
  1. 1Rheumatology, Mater Dei Hospital, Msida, Malta
  2. 2Medicine, Mater Dei Hospital, Msida, Malta
  1. Correspondence to Dr Erika Cefai; Erika.carachi{at}


A previously healthy man in his late 20s presented with a 4-week history of insidious back pain and raised inflammatory markers. Various specialists were involved in his care including general physicians, orthopaedic surgeons and rheumatologists. After numerous investigations including imaging and two bone biopsies, an unexpected diagnosis of anaplastic large cell lymphoma emerged. This case illustrates the importance of investigating back pain with red flags thoroughly using different imaging modalities and where indicated a bone biopsy.

  • rheumatology
  • radiology
  • back pain
  • haematology (incl blood transfusion)

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Twitter @erika_Cefai

  • Contributors The following authors were responsible for drafting of the text, sourcing and editing of clinical images, investigation results, drawing original diagrams and algorithms, and critical revision for important intellectual content: EC, GM and CM. The following authors gave final approval of the manuscript: EC, GM and CM.

  • 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.

  • Case reports provide a valuable learning resource for the scientific community and can indicate areas of interest for future research. They should not be used in isolation to guide treatment choices or public health policy.

  • Competing interests None declared.

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