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Original Article

J Pak Med Assoc. 2017; 67(3): 405-408


Diagnostic dilemma of granulomatous inflammation in cancer patients

Azizullah Khan Dhiloo, Aun Raza, Naseem Akhtar, Waleed Zafar, Faisal Sultan.

Abstract
Objectives: To determine the frequency of granulomatous inflammation on histopathological findings amongst cancer patients and correlating them with tuberculosis.

Methods: The retrospective review was conducted at Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, Lahore, Pakistan, and comprised medical records of cancer patients with a histopathological finding of granulomatous inflammation between January 2010 and December 2015. Data was reviewed, including clinical history, availability of acid fast bacilli stain on tissue and mycobacterium tuberculosis culture results. Data related to treatment, duration and outcomes was also reviewed and was analysed using SPSS 19.

Results: Out of 28690 cancer patients during the study period, 17345(60.4%) had undergone biopsy for different reasons, and of those, 78 (0.45%) had granulomatous inflammation and formed the study sample. Among them, 40(51.3%) patients had caseous granulomatous inflammation while 38 (48.7%) had non-caseous granulomas. Acid fast bacillus tissue stain was performed on 77(98.7%) patients, of whom only 9 (11.5%) specimens showed acid fast bacilli. Mycobacterium tuberculosis culture was performed on 53(68%) specimens and among them 13(16.7%) grew mycobacterium tuberculosis. Anti-tuberculosis treatment was offered to 38 (48.7%) patients, including those with positive AFB stain and MTB culture results. Of them, 32(41%) patients completed the treatment while 4(5.1%) defaulted and 2(2.6%) died. Symptomatic and radiological improvement was observed in 16(20.5%) patients.

Conclusion: Granulomatous inflammation was infrequently encountered in cancer patients. Mycobacterium tuberculosis cultures assisted in definitive decision-making but granulomatous inflammation could not be anticipated when the specimens were initially processed except when visible caseation was encountered. Processing specimens for mycobacterium tuberculosis cultures when caseation was encountered may be a reasonable strategy to adopt.

Key words: Granulomatous inflammation, Cancer, Tuberculosis


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