Nodal tuberculosis revisited: a review

J Infect Dev Ctries. 2012 Jan 12;6(1):6-12. doi: 10.3855/jidc.2090.


Lymphadenitis is the most common extrapulmonary manifestation of tuberculosis. Tuberculous lymphadenitis is considered to be the local manifestation of the systemic disease, whereas lymphadenitis due to nontuberculous mycobacteria is truly a localized disease. A high index of suspicion is needed for the diagnosis of tuberculous lymphadenitis which is known to mimic a number of pathological conditions. Over the last two to three decades, fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) has emerged as a simple out-patient diagnostic procedure for the evaluation of tuberculous lymphadenitis and has replaced lymph node biopsy for histopathology. A number of molecular methods have also been introduced in diagnostics which have greatly improved the diagnostic accuracy. This article provides a review of epidemiology, clinical manifestations, and pathogenesis and emphasizes current trends in pathologic diagnosis of nodal tuberculosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biopsy, Fine-Needle
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / genetics
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / isolation & purification
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / pathogenicity
  • Tuberculosis, Lymph Node* / diagnosis
  • Tuberculosis, Lymph Node* / epidemiology
  • Tuberculosis, Lymph Node* / microbiology
  • Tuberculosis, Lymph Node* / pathology
  • Young Adult