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Exudative pleural effusion during sunitinib treatment
  1. Deepansh Gupta,
  2. Prakash Sivaramakrishnan,
  3. Avishek Layek and
  4. Mayank Mishra
  1. Pulmonary Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India
  1. Correspondence to Dr Mayank Mishra; virgodrmayank{at}


Drug-induced pleural effusion is one of the rare causes of exudative pleural effusion and a high index of suspicion is necessary to lead to early diagnosis. We hereby present the case of a young male in his late 30s, known case of metastatic gastrointestinal stromal tumour on sunitinib therapy, who presented with right-sided mild pleural effusion. Diagnostic thoracentesis showed the effusion to be a monomorphic exudate with low adenosine deaminase, which was negative for malignant cells on cytopathology. A contrast-enhanced CT chest revealed an enlarged lymph node (LN) at the 4R station, cytological analysis of which was suggestive of reactive lymphoid hyperplasia. Infective workup of the LN aspirate and bronchoalveolar lavage taken from the right middle lobe was negative. After systematically excluding the usual causes of exudative pleural effusion, sunitinib was considered to be a possible cause and was, therefore, withheld. A repeat chest X-ray after 3 weeks of stopping the drug showed resolution of the pleural effusion.

  • Chemotherapy
  • Respiratory medicine
  • Malignant disease and immunosuppression

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  • 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: DG, PS, AL and MM. The following authors gave final approval of the manuscript: DG, PS, AL and MM.

  • 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.