Background: To investigate the clinical features of lymphoma with lymphedema as the initial manifestation.
Methods: We performed a retrospective study of 4676 patients with lymphedema treated at the Department of Lymphatic Surgery, Beijing Shijitan Hospital, Capital Medical University, from May 22, 2007, to December 31, 2018. Clinical manifestations and a series of conventional analyses (laboratory tests, ultrasonography, magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography, and radionuclide imaging) were used to study these cases. Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy tests were used to support the diagnosis of lymphoma. Eleven patients of lymphoma with lymphedema as the first symptom were selected, and their clinicopathological features were analyzed retrospectively.
Results: A total of 11 cases of lymphedema caused or aggravated by lymphoma were found, including 1 case of upper extremity edema, 9 cases of lower extremity edema and 1 case of systemic edema. These patients often accompanied by clinical symptoms such as feeble, emaciation, pain, mass, lymph node enlargement and so on. The proportion of patients with abnormal tumor markers was 66.7% (4/6), the prevalence of anemia among patients with malignant lymphedema was 45.5% (5/11), and the positive rates of ultrasonography, CT and MRI were 100.0% (7/7), 100.0% (8/8) and 100.0% (2/2), respectively. Eleven cases with lymphoma were confirmed by pathological diagnosis. To analyze the clinicopathological features, the main points of diagnosis were summarized.
Conclusions: Lymphoma with lymphedema as the first symptom is extremely rare. It has a hidden onset. To avoid delays in the diagnosis and therapy of lymphoma, physicians should actively look for signs or symptoms of lymphedema during the follow-up period and promptly manage patients developing problems.