Reumatología Clínica (English Edition) Reumatología Clínica (English Edition)
Reumatol Clin 2016;12:339-41 - Vol. 12 Num.6 DOI: 10.1016/j.reumae.2015.11.017
Case Report
Sarcoidosis-lymphoma Syndrome
Síndrome sarcoidosis-linfoma
Anahy M. Brandy-Garcíaa,, , Luis Caminal-Monterob, María Soledad Fernández-Garcíac, Angel Saiz Ayalad, Ivan Cabezas-Rodrígueza, Isla Morante-Boladoa
a Servicio de Reumatología, Hospital Universitario Central de Asturias, Oviedo, Asturias, Spain
b Consulta-Unidad de Enfermedades Autoinmunes Sistémicas, Unidad Clínica de Medicina Interna, Hospital Universitario Central de Asturias, Oviedo, Asturias, Spain
c Servicio de Anatomía Patológica, Hospital Universitario Central de Asturias, Oviedo, Asturias, Spain
d Servicio de Radiología, Hospital Universitario Central de Asturias, Oviedo, Asturias, Spain
Received 20 September 2015, Accepted 16 November 2015

A 65 year-old female with a history of sarcoidosis with pulmonary and joint involvement, who after 5 years of diagnosis begins with central nervous system involvement manifesting as diplopia. She presents normal analysis results. In imaging results, a mass is identified in the right intraconal space; it depends of right optic nerve, and shows multiple lymph node involvement. Biopsy was performed diagnosed with large B-cell lymphoma, an atypical form of tumor associated with sarcoidosis.


Mujer de 65 años de edad con antecedentes de sarcoidosis, con afectación pulmonar y articular, que tras 5 años del diagnóstico comienza con afectación del sistema nervioso central, manifestándose como diplopía. Presenta analíticas normales. En las pruebas de imagen se identifica masa intraconal derecha dependiente del nervio óptico derecho, así como múltiple afectación adenopática. Se realizó biopsia con diagnóstico de linfoma B de células grandes, forma atípica de tumor asociado a sarcoidosis.

Sarcoidosis, Lymphoma, Sarcoidosis-lymphoma syndrome, Diplopia, Neurosarcoidois
Palabras clave
Sarcoidosis, Linfoma, Síndrome sarcoidosis-linfoma, Diplopía, Neurosarcoidois

Sarcoidosis is characterized by the accumulation of T cells and macrophages, which form noncaseating epithelioid granulomata. The involvement of lung parenchyma, joints and uveitis is also characteristic.1 The development of a lymphoma in the setting of sarcoidosis is exceptional and, thus, we consider it interesting to report a new case in which, it presented as an eye mass.

Clinical Observation

The patient was a 65-year-old woman with no medical history of interest. She had been diagnosed 5 years earlier with sarcoidosis, showing hilar lymph node involvement, with granulomata in the transbronchial biopsy, and had received small doses of steroids. Four years later, she presented with pulmonary progression (chest radiography, high-resolution computed tomography), with normal respiratory function tests, and received no treatment. One year later, she developed right eye pain, intermittent diplopia and asthenia. The ocular fundus, lumbar puncture and general examination were normal, except for a small change in left supraclavicular lymph node. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed a lesion measuring 11mm×17mm×16mm, with well-defined borders, dependent of the optic nerve, did not infiltrate muscle tissue and attracted gadolinium. There was another lesion of less than 1cm in left masticatory space with the same characteristics (Fig. 1). Thoracoabdominal pelvic computed tomography discovered enlarged multiple mediastinal lymph nodes and iliac chains, and 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) showed hypermetabolic lesions at the eye level, the left masticator space, and sacral and thoracic vertebral lymph node involvement. A biopsy of the supraclavicular lymph node demonstrated a diffuse large B cell lymphoma with a post-germinal center immunophenotype. Cytometry recognized an associated T lymphoid population that expressed CD3+, CD5+, CD8+, CD4 and a high index of proliferation (Ki67). Using B- and T-cell rearrangement studies, we confirmed a monoclonal B population. Although a biopsy of the iliac crest gave no sign of lymphoma, we did find evidence with granulomatous infiltration with multinucleated giant cells.

Fig. 1.

T1-weighted magnetic resonance imaging sequence. Hypoechoic lesion.


Our patient with sarcoidosis developed a retroocular mass, with a radiological differential diagnosis of sarcoidosis vs lymphoma. In sarcoidosis, thoracic lymph node involvement is characteristic and, although, it can also appear in other territories, it does so in fewer than 50% of the cases. As it is a systemic disease, in at least 10% of the patients it can also affect the central nervous system, generally, as leptomeningitis with infiltrations of the basal cisterns of the optic chiasm region and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. In these cases, it is essential to rule out infections and neoplasms, although magnetic resonance imaging or PET/CT confirm the diagnosis.2 In our patient, the diagnosis could be reached after biopsy of a supraclavicular lymph node. Despite presenting bone metabolic activity in PET/CT that suggested lymphomatous infiltration, it was found to be related to sarcoidosis.

The diagnosis of tumors in patients with sarcoidosis is well established, generally, after years of disease progress. However, the association with lymphoma referred to as sarcoidosis-lymphoma syndrome is more recent. In 1986, Brincker reported 17 cases of sarcoidosis that developed into Hodgkin's lymphoma.3 Since then, only a few cases have been described, only 3 in Spain.4–6 In contrast to the patients documented previously, those reported in Spain (Table 1) are characterized has being more elderly, and with a longer time to the diagnosis of the lymphoma.

Table 1.

Summary of the Spanish Patients With Sarcoidosis-lymphoma Syndrome.

  Gender  Clinical signs of sarcoidosis  Age at diagnosis of sarcoidosis  Clinical signs of progression  Type of lymphoma  Interval sarcoidosis-lymphoma 
Germans Trias i
Woman  Lymph node involvement, arthralgia, panniculitis and lung involvement  66 years  Persistence of groin lymph node refractory to corticosteroids  NHL: DLBCL 
Marañón (Madrid) 
Woman  Disseminated lymph node involvement, splenic infiltration and pulmonary nodules  27 years  Neck discomfort with new lymph node changes  LH: predominantly pulmonary lymphocytic  15 years 
Hospital La
Paz (Madrid) 
Woman  Peritoneal sarcoidosis  64 years  Left hemithorax pain, discovery of infraclavicular mass  NHL: DLBCL  3 years 
Woman  Arthralgia and pulmonary involvement  60 years  Diplopia and eye pain  NHL: DLBCL  5 years 

DLBCL: diffuse large B-cell lymhoma; HL: Hodgkin's lymphoma; HUCA: Hospital Universitario Central de Asturias (a Spanish autonomous community [Principality of Asturias] in northern Spain); NHL: non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.


In short, we wish to bring light on the complexity of neurosarcoidosis, given the lack of specificity of the neuroimage and PET/CT, the difficulties for achieving a histological confirmation and the possibility of a lymphoma or infection. It is always necessary to insist on new biopsies, especially with lymph node involvement outside the clinical setting. In our patient population, individuals with sarcoidosis, are more likely to develop a non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and will, generally, be older than the usual mean age.

Ethical DisclosuresProtection of human and animal subjects

The authors declare that no experiments were performed on humans or animals for this study.

Confidentiality of data

The authors declare that no patient data appear in this article.

Right to privacy and informed consent

The authors declare that no patient data appear in this article.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare they have no conflicts of interest.

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Please cite this article as: Brandy-García AM, Caminal-Montero L, Fernández-García MS, Saiz Ayala A, Cabezas-Rodríguez I, Morante-Bolado I. Síndrome sarcoidosis-linfoma. Reumatol Clin. 2016;12:339–341.

Corresponding author. (Anahy M. Brandy-García
Copyright © 2015. Elsevier España, S.L.U. and Sociedad Española de Reumatología y Colegio Mexicano de Reumatología
Reumatol Clin 2016;12:339-41 - Vol. 12 Num.6 DOI: 10.1016/j.reumae.2015.11.017