Castleman disease (CD) refers to a group of diseases that affect lymph nodes and lymphatic tissue. Lymph nodes and lymphatic tissue are part of the body's disease-fighting (immune) system. These tissues filter bacteria, viruses, and waste from the bloodstream.
Lymphatic tissue is found all over the body. The main cells in the lymphatic system are white blood cells called lymphocytes. Lymph nodes are collections of lymphocytes that are located in the chest, abdomen, neck, and groin, and under the arms. CD causes enlargement of lymph nodes and may cause many other symptoms.
What are the causes?
The cause of CD depends on the type. There are three types of CD:
Unicentric CD (UCD). This is the most common type. It affects just one…show more content… Nausea and vomiting.
Swelling in the legs.
Numbness or weakness.
Shortness of breath.
Abdominal pain or fullness.
How is this diagnosed?
Your health care provider may suspect CD if you have an enlarged lymph node. Your health care provider will also do a physical exam. This may include tests to confirm which type of CD you have. Your health care provider may:
Remove one or more enlarged lymph nodes to examine lymphocytes under a microscope.
Do imaging tests of your abdomen and chest to check lymph nodes that are not near the skin. These tests may include CT scan, MRI, and ultrasound.
Do blood tests to check for the HHV-8 virus.
Do blood tests to check for signs of idiopathic MCD, such as inflammation, anemia, platelet abnormalities, low protein, and kidney dysfunction.
How is this treated?
Treatment depends on the type of CD you have:
UCD is usually treated with surgery to remove the lymph node(s). It is rare for UCD to come back after surgery.
If affected lymph nodes are close to major blood vessels or deep inside a lung, surgery may not be an option. In these cases, you may be treated with:
IV medicine that reduces lymphocytes in the affected lymph nodes (rituximab). You may also be given steroids to reduce inflammation at the same time as