Occult Diffuse Neoplasm in the Lungs: Intravascular Large B-Cell Lymphoma

Trinh T. Nguyen, Hiroshi Sekiguchi, Eunhee S. Yi, Jay H. Ryu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Intrathoracic involvement with lymphomas is common and manifests lymphadenopathy as well as a wide spectrum of imaging abnormalities in the lungs. Intravascular large B-cell lymphoma (IVLBCL) is a rare extranodal subtype of large B-cell lymphoma that typically involves small blood vessels and is difficult to detect. Methods: Using a computer-assisted search, we identified patients with histopathologically proven IVLBCL in the lungs at Mayo Clinic from 2001 through 2018. Medical records, imaging studies, and pathologic specimens were reviewed. Results: A total of 5 patients were diagnosed with a median age at diagnosis of 68 years (range, 44-73); 4 patients were male. The diagnosis of IVLBCL was achieved by surgical lung biopsy in 3 and at autopsy in 2. At presentation, all 5 patients had dyspnea and systemic symptoms including fever, fatigue, night sweats, and/or weight loss. Chest radiography and computed tomography (CT) failed to demonstrate the diffuse infiltrative process; positron emission tomography (PET) scan performed in 2 patients did not show fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) uptake in the lungs. Pulmonary function tests obtained in 3 patients showed reduced diffusing capacity in all; transthoracic echocardiography yielded evidence of pulmonary hypertension in 2 of 4 patients. All 3 patients diagnosed antemortem underwent chemotherapy with 1 patient remaining alive at 4 years after diagnosis. Conclusions: IVLBCL is difficult to diagnose given variable and nonspecific clinical presentations. Microvascular disease processes such as IVLBCL should be kept in mind in cases of undiagnosed progressive dyspnea accompanied by systemic symptoms even when imaging studies are unrevealing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)926-929
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • Angioendotheliomatosis
  • Angiotropic lymphoma
  • Biopsy
  • Extranodal
  • Intravascular lymphoma
  • Lymphoma, large B cell, diffuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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