Lost in the Clinics and Found in the Morgue: A Case of Peripheral T-cell Lymphoma Masquerading as Pneumonia


Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 2020 Aug 11. doi: 10.1097/PAF.0000000000000586. Online ahead of print.


In modern medicine, there is an increasing dependence on noninvasive imaging modalities, for diagnosis and management of diseases. Though there are definite advantages to this, they are at times offset by diagnostic pitfalls especially in entities with elusive clinical presentation.Peripheral T-cell lymphoma-not otherwise specified (PTCL-NOS) is an aggressive subtype of T-cell lymphomas that does not meet criteria for a specific subtype. Peripheral T-cell lymphoma usually has varied clinical

presentations depending on the site of involvement. Vast majority of PTCL patients present with systemic disease, generalized lymphadenopathy and constitutional symptoms. Pulmonary involvement is relatively rare and is seen in approximately 10% of patients.Here in we highlight a rare case of PTCL, masquerading as pneumonia due to extensive pulmonary involvement that went undiagnosed and was discovered at autopsy. This case of malignant lymphoma of T-cell origin involving the lung, which is very rare, highlights the continued importance of medical autopsies not only as a teaching tool but also as an important adjunct to investigative medicine in uncovering lapses that can subsequently be avoided to improve patient care and decrease mortality.