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, 9 (6), 1361-4

Tuberculosis of Pancreas and Peripancreatic Lymph Nodes in Immunocompetent Patients: Experience From China


Tuberculosis of Pancreas and Peripancreatic Lymph Nodes in Immunocompetent Patients: Experience From China

Feng Xia et al. World J Gastroenterol.


Aim: To determine the clinical, radiographic and laboratory characteristics, diagnostic methods, and therapeutic variables in immunocompetent patients with tuberculosis (TB) of the pancreas and peripancreatic lymph nodes.

Methods: The records of 16 patients (6 male, 10 female; mean age 37 years, range 18-56 years) with tuberculosis of the pancreas and peripancreatic lymph nodes from 1983 to 2001 in the Southwest Hospital were analyzed retrospectively. In addition, 58 similar cases published in Chinese literature were reviewed and summarized. We reviewed the clinical, radiographic and laboratory findings, diagnostic methods, therapeutic approaches, and outcome in the patients. Criteria for the diagnosis of pancreatic tuberculosis were the presence of granuloma in histological sections or the presence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis DNA by polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

Results: Predominant symptoms consisted of abdominal nodule and pain (75 %), anorexia/weight loss (69 %), malaise/weakness (64 %), fever and night sweats (50 %), back pain (38 %) and jaundice (31 %). Swelling of the head of the pancreas with heterogeneous attenuation echo was detected with ultrasound in 75 % (12/16). CT scan showed pancreatic mass with heterogeneous hypodensity focus in all patients, with calcification in 56 % (9/16) patients, and peripancreatic nodules in 38 % (6/16) patients. Anemia and lymphocytopenia were seen in 50 % (8/16) patients, and pancytopenia occurred in 13 % (2/16) patients. Hypertransaminasemia, elevated alkaline phosphatase (AP) and GGT were seen in 56 % (9/16) patients. The erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) was elevated in 69 % (11/16) cases. Granulomas were found in 75 % (12/16) cases, and in 38 % (6/16) cases caseous necrosis tissue was found. Laparotomy was performed in 75 % (12/16) cases, and ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration (FNA) was done in 63 % (10 of 16). The most commonly used combinations of medications were isoniazid/rifampin/streptomycin (63 %, n=10) and isoniazid/rifampin pyrazinamide/streptomycin or ethambutol (38 %, n=6). The duration of treatment lasted for half or one year and treatment was successful in all cases. The characteristics of 58 cases from Chinese literature were also summarized.

Conclusion: Tuberculosis of the pancreas and peripancreatic lymph nodes should be considered as a diagnostic possibility in patients presenting with a pancreatic mass, and diagnosis without laparotomy is possible if only doctors are aware of its clinical features and investigate it with appropriate modalities. Pancreatic tuberculosis can be effectively cured by antituberculous drugs.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Mass with heterogeneous hypodensity located in the head of pancreas. The body and tail of the pancreas appeared atrophy, and with enlarged main pancreatic duct.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Pancreas appeared swollen diffusely with heterogeneous enhancement and vague margin. A circle lymph nodes showed enhancement under pancreas.
Figure 3
Figure 3
Calcification of pancreatic TB occurred under the body of the pancreas and retroperitoneal lymph nodes.

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