Primary Mixed Cellularity Classical Hodgkin lymphoma of the Lumbar spine - An unusual presentation

Gulf J Oncolog. 2015 Jan;1(17):88-91.


Primary spinal epidural lymphoma (PSEL) is a subset of lymphoma. For the diagnosis of PSEL there should be no other recognizable sites of lymphoma other than the spine at the time of diagnosis. The incidence of this subset of lymphomas is very low. Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) usually presents with painless enlargement of peripheral lymph nodes and only a small percentage arises from extra nodal regions.Very few patients with HL develops spinal cord compression due to an epidural tumor at some time during the course of their disease. But patients with HL presenting with isolated primary involvement of the epidural spinal region is very rare with very few reports available in the literature.

Case: A 19-year-old male presented to the local hospital with history of low back pain for almost one year. An initial biopsy was non-contributory and was reported as showing inflammatory change. The patient was empirically started on antituberculosis medication but his condition worsened and within weeks he developed paraplegia. MRI of the spine showed a large paraspinal mass with compression of L1 vertebral body. Urgent surgical decompression was done and final histopathology showed a mixed cellularity classical Hodgkin lymphoma (MCCHL). Systemic work-up did not show evidence of nodal disease. Following surgery, he received chemotherapy.

Conclusion: We report this case because of the unusual presentation of HL as a primary spinal mass. We would also like to highlight that apart from common causes, a differential diagnosis of HL should also be entertained while dealing with spinal masses. Otherwise diagnosis can be missed leading to delay in treatment and complications.