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Hodgkin's disease presenting as a cholestatic febrile illness: incidence and main characteristics in a series of 421 patients

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 In order to determine the frequency and characteristics of patients with liver abnormalities as the presenting manifestation of Hodgkin's disease (HD), 421 consecutive HD patients were studied. Six patients in the series (1.4%) presented with liver abnormalities that led to of a liver biopsy and the subsequent diagnosis of HD. All had fever prior to HD diagnosis, four frank jaundice, and one hepatic failure. No patient had pruritus. Moderate hepatomegaly was present in four patients. Cholestasis was observed in all cases; in most patients a moderate increase in the transaminase activity was also seen. Two patients had a mild rise in the serum LDH, four had leukopenia, and one eosinophilia. At liver histologic study, Reed-Sternberg cells were demonstrated in four patients; in the remaining two, the presence of atypical histiocytes, lymphocytes, and eosinophils was highly suggestive of HD, the latter diagnosis being confirmed by subsequent study of bone marrow and/or retroperitoneal lymphadenopathies. In three of the six patients, HD was not demonstrated in sites other than the liver. Three patients older than 60 years died shortly after HD diagnosis. By contrast, three patients younger than 40 years showed a dramatic response to chemotherapy: two of them had a further relapse, and one is considered cured after 14 years of continuous remission. Liver disease constitutes an infrequent form of HD presentation which must be included in the differential diagnosis of any patient with fever of unknown origin.

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Received: 26 October 1995 / Accepted: 15 February 1996

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Cervantes, F., Briones, J., Bruguera, M. et al. Hodgkin's disease presenting as a cholestatic febrile illness: incidence and main characteristics in a series of 421 patients. Ann Hematol 72, 357–360 (1996).

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