Castleman Disease: A Rare Condition with Endocrine Manifestations

  • Cervantes C
  • Correa R
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Castleman disease (CD) most commonly affects lymphoid tissues in the thorax, abdomen, pelvis, and neck. Extralymphatic tissues, such as lacrimal glands, lung, pancreas, larynx, parotid, meninges, and even muscles, have also been reported as sites. The etiology is unknown and its incidence has not been reported in the literature. Castleman disease can be classified clinically into a unicentric or multicentric form, depending on the number of lymph nodes involved, and histologically into a hyaline vascular variant, plasma cell, mixed cellular, or plasmablastic variant. The disease has a predominantly inflammatory background, reflected in high levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and interleukin-6 (IL-6). The role of cytokines in CD explains the clinical presentation. The clinical scenario varies widely, based mainly on the histologic type. Unicentric CD usually presents without symptomatology, whereas multicentric manifests with fatigue, abdominal or thoracic pain, cytopenias, and/or B- symptoms (10% weight loss in the last six months, nocturnal diaphoresis, and fever). The endocrinopathy has a wide range of manifestations, affecting either the pituitary or other target organs. Achieving the diagnosis is complicated and there is no laboratory or imaging pathognomonic for this disease. The gold standard is an excisional biopsy from an affected lymph node. The treatment depends on the type of CD. Unicentric CD has a good response to excisional surgery. However, in multicentric CD (MCD), surgery may provide transient relief of symptoms but with a rebound effect, so it is not considered a good method. The use of chemotherapy, monoclonal antibodies, glucocorticoids, and thalidomide has shown some improvement in MCD.




Cervantes, C. E., & Correa, R. (2015). Castleman Disease: A Rare Condition with Endocrine Manifestations. Cureus.

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