Classical Hodgkin lymphoma masquerading as chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis: a case report

Michael Pham, Steven Ressler, Allison Rosenthal, Katalin Kelemen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Hodgkin lymphoma is a hematologic malignancy usually confined to lymphatic structures and commonly associated with constitutional symptoms. Bony involvement and musculoskeletal symptoms are uncommon and typically seen in advanced disease. In this case, we report an unusual presentation of classical Hodgkin lymphoma and highlight diagnostic challenges leading to the misdiagnosis and treatment as chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis. Case presentation: A 38-year-old white man presented with lower extremity musculoskeletal pain. Imaging studies revealed multifocal lytic and sclerotic osseous axial lesions. Multiple core needle bone marrow and excisional lymph node biopsies were non-diagnostic. Having met the criteria, a tentative diagnosis of chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis was given. He was treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications with partial clinical response but had persistent symptoms. A second medical opinion was pursued. An open bone marrow biopsy was performed and yielded a diagnosis of classical Hodgkin lymphoma after 13 months of diagnostic uncertainty. A chemotherapy regimen of doxorubicin, bleomycin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine was instituted with complete symptomatic and radiologic response. Conclusions: This case illustrates diagnostic difficulties of a musculoskeletal presentation of Hodgkin lymphoma, challenges of non-diagnostic bone marrow and lymph node biopsies, and resultant diagnostic delays in delivering a potentially curative therapy. Had the additional open bone marrow biopsy not been performed, the diagnosis and treatment of Hodgkin lymphoma would have been missed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number45
JournalJournal of Medical Case Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 18 2017


  • CRMO
  • Chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis
  • Classical Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Osseous lymphoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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