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Pleural Effusions in Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma: Clinical and Prognostic Significance

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Pleural effusion (PEs) may complicate diffuse large B-cell lymphomas (DLBCL). However, their real prevalence and prognostic significance have seldom been approached systematically.


Retrospective single-center evaluation of consecutive patients with DLBCL was conducted. Baseline characteristics, PEs on CT imaging, pleural fluid analyses, and outcome until death or censoring date were collected.


Of 185 DLBCL patients, 55 (30%) had PEs, of which 27 (49%) were analyzed. Most tapped PEs were malignant (n = 24) and cytological and/or flow cytometric analyses provided the diagnosis in about 70% of the cases. Malignant PEs were exudates with adenosine deaminase levels > 35 U/L in 35% of the cases. More than one-third of lymphomatous PEs required definitive pleural procedures for symptomatic relief. PEs greater than 200 mL on CT scans were an independent predictor of poor survival in Cox regression modeling (hazard ratio 1.9).


PEs are common in DLBCL and foreshadow a poor prognosis.

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Authors and Affiliations



Conception and design: JMP and SB; Acquisition, analysis and interpretation of data: IC, TGC, MP, SB, and JMP; and drafting the manuscript: JMP All authors gave final approval.

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Correspondence to José M. Porcel.

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None of the authors has any conflicts of interest to declare in relation to this work.

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Porcel, J.M., Cuadrat, I., García-Cerecedo, T. et al. Pleural Effusions in Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma: Clinical and Prognostic Significance. Lung 197, 47–51 (2019).

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